Popjustice » The Briefing http://www.popjustice.com 100% Solid Pop Music Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:12:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 S Club 7: BACK BACK BACK BACK BACK BACK BACK (but who were they?) http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/s-club-7-back-back-back-back-back-back-back-but-who-were-they/131887/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/s-club-7-back-back-back-back-back-back-back-but-who-were-they/131887/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:58:46 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=131887 s-club-back-back-back

That picture above is the first one we ever saw of S Club 7.

A lady from their management company came to see us and brought the photograph with her. She also brought a 21st Century Girls VHS but let’s not dwell on that because the exciting thing about that day back in the late 1990s was that mysterious photo of seven popstars.

There wasn’t much extra information given at the time, other than some names on the back of the photograph.

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We don’t know when ‘John’ decided to be Jon but we do know that over the next few years S Club refined and redefined the pop-as-a-brand malarkey and made some amazing songs.

Here’s how it all happened.

S Club was a second attempt at the Spice Girls

spice-girls

Two of the biggest pop acts at the end of the 90s were actually previous pop acts done properly. With Westlife, Louis Walsh figured out what all the shit bits had been about Boyzone, and created a far better group.

With S Club, Simon Fuller had a look at his success with the Spice Girls and perfected the formula.

That’s not to say S Club were a better act than the Spice Girls, but they were a more efficient and well-rounded pop entity. Most importantly, while the Spice Girls were simply a pop group that ended up being a brand, S Club was a brand with a pop group at its heart. Over the years that followed, this allowed S Club to become a range of merchandise, a TV programme… Even another pop group.

S Club launched off the back of a BBC TV programme

The first sight of S Club 7 was actually on Miami 7, a ‘dramedy’ effort shown on CBBC or whatever CBBC was called in 1999.

While not groundbreaking as a way of introducing a pop band (North & South had attempted something similar a couple of years earlier), Miami 7 was a stroke of genius in one important respect: its worldwide syndication was an extraordinarily clever way of shoehorning a new pop band into the consciousness of the entire planet. Miami 7 was seen by 90m people in over 100 countries.

They released some very good pop singles

‘Reach': amazing. ‘S Club Party': amazing. ‘You’re My Number One': amazing. ‘Never Had A Dream Come True': amazing. ‘Don’t Stop Movin”: amazing. ‘Have You Ever': amazing. ‘Alive': amazing even though it was just trying to be ‘Don’t Stop Movin’ 2′. ‘Love Ain’t Gonna Wait For You': we’re still fuming this was relegated to AA-side status.

Most of the best S Club songs were written by Cathy Dennis, who seemed to find that the band provided a good clearing house for her INCREDIBLE POP STUFF. In 2014, ‘Reach’ and ‘Don’t Stop Movin” are both solid gold wedding disco bangers that every DJ should have somewhere in their box.

Then S Club TV happened

S Club TV was an attempt at a TV programme. (It wasn’t very good.)

Here the hosts are, plugging it on a better TV programme.

Excellent cross-promotion with the ‘Reach For The Stars’ segment though, right?

(Holly from S Club TV went on to be Holly Willoughby, while Ben had a picture of S Club in his attic or something.)

Then S Club Juniors happened

S Club Juniors were like S Club, but smaller. However, because there was one extra member in S Club Juniors, the two bands were actually exactly the same weight.

As well as nicking S Club’s logo and songwriter (Cathy Dennis wrote their first single), S Club Juniors even appeared with a familiar first photo.

s-club-juniors

Ta-DA!

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S Club Juniors ended up rebranding as S Club 8 and they knocked out some good songs (AND SOME SHIT ONES) during their time together. Among the best were ‘Fool No More’ and ‘New Direction’, the latter of which sounded a bit like ‘nude erection’ which as you can imagine was incredibly funny in 2005 and remains fairly amusing today.

(At the end of 2002 we joined S Club Juniors for two days for a piece for The Guardian, which is quite funny.)

When S Club 8 went tits up Simon Fuller invented a fame school-centred kids TV drama called I Dream, which featured Frankie and Calvin from S Club 8. That didn’t go very well.

As you well know, Frankie and Rochelle from S Club 8 ended up in The Saturdays, and one of S Club Juniors’ songs ended up being released in the US by American Juniors, who were a band formed by a reality show, but that’s just adding an extra layer of complication to the whole thing so let’s not get bogged down.

S Club 7 became S Club

In 2002, Paul from S Club 7 cleared off in order to be in some sort of bloody awful nu-metal outfit. He stayed with S Club for a few months – with hindsight he was basically working his notice period – before disappearing for good.

S Club 7 renamed themselves S Club and made an astonishingly shit film called ‘Seeing Double’.

It was written by Simon Fuller’s brother Kim, and directed by Nigel Dick, then man who’d also directed Britney’s ‘…Baby One More Time’ video. It didn’t do very well at the Oscars.

S Club and S Club 8 all went off on tour together

The S Club United tour was supposed to be a joyous coming together of 14 pop behemoths.

Sadly it turned out to be more of an elaborate attempt at handing over the S Club baton, and it ended quite badly.

That’s a fairly epic interpretation of “we’ve got good news and bad news”, isn’t it?

S Club eventually said goodbye for good

S Club’s final single was ‘Say Goodbye’.

The song was sent out to the media with promotional handkerchiefs, which seemed to be making light of an incredibly sad moment in the history of pop, but we all deal with grief in different ways and over the intervening years we’ve found a way to forgive S Club’s label for their terrible lapse in judgement.

‘Say Goodbye’ and its accompanying video remain one of pop’s best “it’s all over let’s just put everything in a box and have a cry” farewell moments.

Classic Cathy Dennis. Classic Dennis. CLASSY DENNIS.

Then Rachel Stevens was briefly responsible for a load of tremendous tunes

When the S Club party was in its ‘putting out the bins and clearing up the wine stains’ stage, Rachel Stevens decided to be a solo artist.

Things kicked off extremely well with the Top 3 single ‘Sweet Dreams My LA Ex’.

The song had been written by Cathy Dennis for Britney Spears as an answer record to Justin Timberlake’s ‘Cry Me A River’, but Britney was an idiot and Rachel got the song instead.

Then Rachel released a bizarre postmodern second single called ‘Funky Dory’, which sampled David Bowie’s ‘Hunky Dory’ album track ‘Andy Warhol’, and referenced pop art in its lyrics.

THEN – this is the really good bit – Rachel accidentally released one of the greatest albums of the 21st Century in the form of ‘Come And Get It’. (It got to Number 28 because the record buying public were extremely irresponsible.) The album included the Number Two single ‘Some Girls’, which was produced and written by Richard X and Hannah Robinson.

Geri Halliwell was so furious she didn’t get this song that she locked herself in her car, an event later referenced in the X-and-Robinson-helmed Annie song ‘Me Plus One’. (‘Me Plus One’ ends with a sample of Geri Halliwell’s dog.)

Jo O’Meara released an amazing single…

…and a shit album. Then she went on Celebrity Big Brother and everything went a bit wrong.

S Club 3 became ‘a thing’

Jo, Bradley and Paul weren’t really fooling anyone with the whole ‘four backing dancers’ debacle, but they did a load of student gigs and nightclub PAs. They also appeared on Australian television. :(

You would have thought that this sort of behaviour would put S Club – or S Club 3, or S Club 4 or whoever was available – into classic Big Reunion territory. But S Club did not appear on The Big Reunion. Could it perhaps have been the case that Simon Fuller was looking at The Big Reunion – much like he’d looked at the TV programme Popstars – and thinking, “I can do that myself”? Was he DEVISING a CUNNING POP PLAN?

Look this post’s going on a bit now so let’s just cut to the chase: S Club 7 are back together.

s-club-2014

For a band that launched off the back of a BBC TV programme, it makes sense that S Club should relaunch off the back of a BBC TV programme.

This morning the BBC announced that S Club 7 – that’s all of them, even Rachel – would be performing together for the first time in however many years it’s been on this year’s Children In Need. (Last year’s Children In Need was also the location for McBusted’s first TV appearance.)

There hasn’t been an official announcement regarding new material, but if you think that’s not on the cards you’re a fool to yourself. Could there also be a tour?

Whether or not the band manage to pull off a McBusted remains to be seen; McBusted announced 13 live dates and ended up selling out over thirty – the genuine public demand and affection for that band has been extraordinary. But while McBusted benefit from Busted splitting before their time was up and McFly’s continued existence providing a clear line from the past to the present, S Club ended a few months after it should have done and the profile of S Club’s individual members has gone slightly adrift in recent years. Theirs is a proper revival in the way McBusted’s kind of wasn’t.

Anyway, the success or failure of any full S Club comeback rests on the reappearance of the most important person in S Club’s history. It’s not Rachel, and it’s not Paul. It’s not even Simon Fuller.

Five words:

1. GET.
2. DENNIS.
3. ON.
4. THE.
5. PHONE.

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Taylor Swift shat in a yellow bucket and Canada took it to Number One http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/taylor-swift-shat-in-a-yellow-bucket-and-canada-took-it-to-number-one/131865/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/taylor-swift-shat-in-a-yellow-bucket-and-canada-took-it-to-number-one/131865/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 08:50:55 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=131865 yellow-bucket

Three years ago we devised an idea that we hoped would change pop forever.

We were bored by acts with millions of intensely engaged fans (and millions of pounds’ marketing budget thrown at gaining those fans) being judged in the same Top 40 as artists with modest fanbases or modest marketing budgets.

Our idea was this: every popstar should be required to record the sound of themselves shitting into a yellow a bucket; the recording would then be put on sale on iTunes and the resulting sales (or lack of sales) by each artist would be fed into a Bucket Index, which would itself then be added into an equation that could then help make more sense of music sales.

For instance, you’d expect One Direction to be somewhere near the top of the Bucket Index. That Bucket Index placing would mean that if they scored a Top 5 single, we’d know that ‘hit’ was actually worth less than if, for instance, Gorgon City – whose Bucket Index rating would be comparatively low – also scored a Top 5 hit. The point is that if an act’s fans are so engaged that they will literally buy the sound of someone shitting in a bucket, and if the quality of all that act’s musical releases is therefore irrelevant, the act is not really selling songs and music – it’s selling an opportunity to ‘vote’ in the charts for 99p, which is quite different.

Sadly for reasons we still cannot fathom, and despite presenting many artists with their first and last opportunity to claim a full writing credit and production credit on a single release, our amazing idea did not catch on.

UNTIL NOW.

This is Taylor Swift.

taylor-swift-in-the-shake-it-off-video

Taylor Swift is probably the planet’s best popstar at the moment.

Taylor’s got a new album coming out soon and, as she recently wrote on Tumblr, she’s experimenting with a couple of different release strategies as that release date approaches.

Some strategies, such as only releasing instant grat tracks to certain counties, have been controversial but not too out of the ordinary. Yesterday, however, Taylor Swift stepped things up a level or two, by releasing a rather strange piece of music. It wasn’t quite the sound of Swifto shaking it off into a bucket, but it served a similar purpose.

‘Track 3′ is eight seconds of white noise. Within hours, it was Number One on the Canadian iTunes charts.

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In fact, at the time of writing, it’s still there.

Slate report that the release was due to some sort of glitch but Taylor’s Tim Berners-Lee in sheep’s clothing routine doesn’t fool us. We think this was a carefully planned step in Taylor’s ludicrously well-orchestrated album campaign and, while she’s yet to take credit for this bold move, we can only applaud the way in which Swifto has embraced not only this brave new release strategy but also, of course, our Bucket Index idea.

What can we learn from Taylor Swift’s shite bucket challenge?

Naturally, the Bucket Index will only become truly useful when other artists also start to release eight seconds of white noise and we’re able to throw the resulting data against chart performance in order to recalibrate our understanding of the Top 40.

Additionally, when you consider that ‘Track 3′ has appeared at a point in the ‘1989’ campaign when four excellent songs have already been made public, its usefulness as a proper Bucket Index entry is diminished. The success of ‘Track 3′, rather than proving that Taylor Swift fans will simply buy any old rubbish, is actually more likely to show that people liked ‘Shake It Off’, ‘Out Of The Woods’, that one off the cat advert and ‘Welcome To New York’ so much that they have complete faith in the quality of everything from this album, and will confidently download a song without listening to the music first.

In a sense, then, ‘Track 3′ goes against everything the Bucket Index stands for.

But that’s not to say Taylor’s brave experiment is without merit. She has truly pushed an important pop boundary with this eight-second, tune-free, lyrically obtuse release. But we’ll only really know how far she’s prepared to push that boundary when the ‘Track 3′ video appears on VEVO.

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Sportsman has done a pensive cover of a Taylor Swift song http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/sportsman-has-done-a-pensive-cover-of-a-taylor-swift-song/131824/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/sportsman-has-done-a-pensive-cover-of-a-taylor-swift-song/131824/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 11:38:28 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=131824 sportsman

Sportsman is a chap from Sweden who recently had an EP out on Best Fit Recordings.

Anyway he’s making his debut album at the moment but has decided to put all that to one side for a moment in order to knock out a SAD but HOPE-FILLED cover of Taylor Swift’s ‘Begin Again’ with producer HNNY.

This is it. If you have had a ‘heavy weekend’ it might make you cry a little bit.

How very nice. Here is what ‘Sportsman’ says about it all.

“I WAS IN MY CAR DRIVING WITH HNNY. IT WAS WINTER. WE WERE ON AN ISLAND ON THE EAST COAST OF SWEDEN. WE WERE LISTENING TO THIS SONG. I LOVE TAYLOR AND THIS IS MY FAVOURITE. IT’S ALWAYS BEING PLAYED LIKE A FILM IN FRONT OF ME. I LOVE THAT IT TAKES PLACE IN A CAFÉ AND THE STORY… BEING KIND OF FUCKED OVER AND SAVED BY SOMEONE NEW. JOHAN SAID IT SOUNDS LIKE A SPORTSMAN SONG. HE THOUGHT I SHOULD MAKE A COVER.

WHAT’S PAST IS PAST 

- SPORTSMAN”

Thanks for that Sportsman, and thanks for the jolly nice cover version of the song by Taylor Swift.

(If you are interested in future stuff Sportsman – maybe he’ll do ‘Shake It Off’ – he’s over on facebook.com/therealsportsman.)

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Nine key points about the song Nicola Roberts wrote for Cheryl’s album http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/nine-key-points-about-the-song-nicola-roberts-did-for-the-cheryl-album/131600/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/nine-key-points-about-the-song-nicola-roberts-did-for-the-cheryl-album/131600/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 16:40:51 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=131600 Cheryl black dress hi res

1. The tune in question is called ‘It’s About Time’.

2. Robbo wrote it with The Invisible Men and James Draper, who then also went on to produce it. The last time Cheryl, Nicola and The Invisible Men worked in a similar way a rather good tune called ‘On The Metro’ was magiced into life, so this is a popmaking outfit with form.

3. The music is breezy and carefree with housey pianos and a very distinct whiff of Bobby Brown’s ‘Two Can Play That Game’.

4. Lyrically, on the other hand… Well, the breeziness is not constant. This is an oscillating fan of a pop song. ‘It’s About Time’ is a song that says, “look, do you know what, everything’s been a bit shit of late on the romance front but I’ve given it some thought and I’ve decided that I’ll give this old ‘love’ business another go and see what happens.”

5. However, given the involvement of eminent tunesmith Nicola Roberts on songword duties, it says all that with a considerably higher level of lyrical aplomb. The song opens with Cheryl explaining that she’s been “asking myself if living without a feeling is really living; is having everything any good if everything’s all you have?” By this she means that she has a nice house, several enviable frocks and a box in the garage containing more fake eyelashes than she could ever want, but that’s all just rubbish without a nice bit of love. Then things get a bit dark. “I locked myself away,” Cheryl explains. “I became untouchable, got colder by the day.” But then there’s light! Cheryl realises that there’s “nothing in my way – just the person in the mirror”, before exclaiming “take me to the flame, it’s now or never!” An emotional rollercoaster we’re sure you’ll agree, and it’s not even at the first chorus yet. For that chorus Cheryl decides that it’s about time (hence the name of the song) she starts loving again. “I won’t give in til my heart beats again,” she sings. “Will somebody show me what I’ve been missing?”

6. Given that Nicola – unlike a lot of the people who’ll tend to fling songs in Cheryl’s direction – is Actual Friends with the person she’s writing for, you would do well to surmise that the emotional states outlined above are an unusually accurate account of what it’s like to have been Cheryl during dark times. And you’d also guess that it’s a realistic portrayal of how and why Cheryl eventually chose to propel herself out of GLOOM AND DESPAIR. “For all that time I was so scared of flying so I stuck to the running,” Cheryl sings in the second verse. “But I’m not running any more – I’m dancing my nights away.”

7. Despite only featuring 40% of Girls Aloud this is well over 40% as good as a Girls Aloud song, which must be a good thing.

8. In the middle eight Cheryl sings of “each bottled up emotion, each tear I never cried – I need a big explosion, it’s time for me to fly”. Nicola often has a rather beautiful way of looking at life and “I need a big explosion” is indeed a beautiful description of the way we must all, at one point, have looked at The World Of Romance. After all, who shouldn’t be allowed a big explosion every now and again? Terrorists, obviously, but apart from that? Exactly.

9. Good work ladies.

nicola-roberts

 

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Q4 In Crisis: 49 things pop must deliver before January 1 http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/q4-in-crisis-49-things-pop-must-deliver-before-january-1/131467/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/q4-in-crisis-49-things-pop-must-deliver-before-january-1/131467/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 12:45:00 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=131467 q4-in-crisis

Right, we’ve given it a week and we’ll be honest with you: Q4 is underperforming.

Yes, the David Guetta single is good in ways nobody could have expected. Yes, Avicii and Robbie’s single is ‘a big thing’ and bad in ways most people would have expected. Yes, McBusted’s single announcement is a pretty Q4 event. And yes, we’ll accept that the BBC did pull a big rabbit out of the hat last night with the One Direction and Jake Bugg collaboration.

But where’s everything else?

As we outlined last year in our introductory guide to all things Q4, Q4 is the most special time of year for pop music.

Qthousand4teen needs to buck up its ideas, and here’s what we want to see before 2015 comes along and ruins all the Q4 fun.

rihanna-get

1. Let’s have a Rihanna single. We don’t even need a whole album. Just a single. We’ll take anything at this point.

2. McBusted’s ‘Air Guitar’ video needs to be set at a karaoke night; the full McBusted album must include a song about the demise of Busted.

3. Will Young doing The Beloved’s ‘Sweet Harmony’ for the John Lewis ad please.

4. Actually, thinking about it, let’s have a Rihanna album after all.

5. Gwen Stefani’s single has to be almost supernaturally incredible.

tamera-walking-around

6. We don’t care if it’s finished or not: Tamera Foster’s debut single needs to come out this year and we don’t want any of this Sade bollocks people were talking about earlier this year. This needs to be balls-out amazing.

7. The only person allowed to release an album that sounds like Sade in Q4 is Sade, and even that’s pushing it a bit.

8. Almost one year ago to the day we tweeted about a new Calvin Harris album coming in 2014. This was based on an email we’d just got from his label but in a reply Calvin seemed quite surprised by the news. He’s since deleted that tweet but ‘Motion’ is indeed coming, and its release date falls in the pop calendar’s most exciting 25%. So we were right about the Calvin Harris album and Calvin Harris was wrong about the Calvin Harris album. The Gwen track obviously needs to be completely amazing, and the album’s not out for a few weeks so there’s still plenty of time for Calvin to release a few more singles, thus achieving the impressive ‘half a greatest hits’ feel he pulled off on ’18 Months’. (We also like the American Horror Story-esque ‘returning cast’ feel of Ellie Goulding and Theo Hurts coming back to do some more songs.)

9. It’s yet to be officially announced but The Saturdays’ Christmas album must be completely ridiculous, but it must also not be total shit. As well as sleighbell-strewn original songs the album must include covers of Low’s ‘Just Like Christmas’, Saint Etienne’s ‘I Was Born On Christmas Day’ (with Marvin Humes as Tim Burgess), Hurts’ ‘All I Want For Christmas Is New Year’s Day’ and Leona’s ‘One More Sleep’, plus the greatest festive single in recent history – Paul Holt’s ‘Fifty Grand For Christmas’. It must be called ‘On Your Reindeer’.

10. Something about Adele.

11. One Direction’s farewell album must follow in the pensive footsteps of ‘Fireproof’.

12. Sorry to go on about this, but about this Rihanna album. We’ve heard murmurings of guitars. But Charli XCX’s involvement has also been mooted. The latter would be acceptable, as would a combination of both.

Taylor-Swift-1989-Deluxe-2014-1200x1200

13. Taylor Swift’s album must be the album of the year. To give you some idea of the scale of this album’s power, Max Martin’s done at least nine songs. Don’t let us down Max.

14. In other Max Martin news, we’d like to hear the fruits of Tove Lo’s writing sessions as part of Max’s team, and in total we’d like to hear three different Max Martin-helmed singles by three different non-Swift US recording artists before Q4 is out.

15. She might be the planet’s least self aware popstar but even Jessie J must know that this new album of hers is make or break, at least in terms of the international superstar status she covets. The good news is she’s got form when it comes to decent songs.

16. Emeli Sandé’s already sidled her way into one big Q4 release (ie that BBC ‘God Only Knows’ single) but there’s still time to whack out a single and album before the end of Q4. Obviously, as she’s discussed in the past, she has strong feelings about how exploitative shows like The X Factor can be. The good news is that she’s more than happy to put her strong principles to one side if there’s a chance of flogging some music, so maybe she could appear (yet again) on one of the live shows.

bangerz miley cyrus artwork

17. If a ‘Bangerz’ repack called ‘Banger2′ definitely isn’t happening we want to know why and we want the names and addresses of everybody involved in this heinous decision.

18. It’s increasingly hard to see where Madonna’s music promo ends and her hashtag addiction begins, but an album definitely exists and while it’s scheduled for 2015 we mustn’t forget that she’s managed by the same man who ‘masterminded’ the U2 iTunes release, and Madonna’s still one of the few artists who could just about cause the necessary fuss a semi-Beyoncé requires.

19. Speaking of U2, isn’t there supposed to be another album on its way? Not the forthcoming physical release of ‘Songs Of Innocence’ (which is a release that takes the one good thing about that album – the artwork – and changes it). A completely different one. Given how long they spent between albums there must be several potential U2 albums knocking around. They could chuck an LP onto iTunes once a week for the rest of Q4 if they wanted to, but the one we’d be interested in hearing is the one that contains the RedOne sessions.

20. We’re going to set ourselves up for a fall here but we’re crossing our fingers for a Cheryl album with more than three good songs on it.

21. More importantly, would a surprise Nicola Roberts track between Christmas and New Year be too much to ask for? She’s been in the studio, at least one of the songs must be SoundCloud ready.

22. Do you think it would help if we just phoned Rihanna every two days to ask how she was getting on?

Olly Murs album

23. ‘Oily’ Murs has an album on its way. The first single’s not great, but he usually manages a few decent tracks from each album campaign, and given Olly’s standing in the British male pop ‘community’ we’re going to have to demand at least one all-out triumph. “I want to be the biggest male artist in the country,” he recently told Music Week. “I might never get there but I’m going to keep going until that day when you know it’s over.” We’re not sure what to make of that; nor are we entirely sure what to make of this: “I look at the market and always try to challenge myself. So if I hear an Avicii song I might want to write an Avicii song.” (Apparently one song on his album, the Steve Mac and Wayne Hector track ‘Stick With Me’, does indeed sound a little bit like an Avicii song.)

24. The Nicki Minaj album is going to be great, right?

25. One of the things we really love about the current Kylie ‘era': the way Kylie’s letting leftover tracks find their way to fans. Another thing we like about the current Kylie ‘era': loads of these songs are actually really good. We’d like to see another surprise EP release on the morning of December 25.

26. David Guetta‘s new single is great. Will the album also be great? No, it will contain a large amount of old nonsense, but ‘Dangerous’ is a good reminder that Dave should never be underestimated.

27. Susan Boyle’s album features a version of ‘You Raise Me Up’ featuring the Lakewood Church Choir. This must have a massive donk at the end of it.

28. Iggy Azalea‘s reissuing her album. It’ll include new songs with Charli XCX and Ellie Goulding which is all very well but Azo needs to bin off the title (‘The New Classic: Reclassified’) and call the reissue ‘First Things Second’.

Ella Henderson

29. We’re afraid we’re going to have to insist that Ella Henderson – whose album is out next week – stages a stupendous X Factor performance with fire and a choir. Fire And A Choir should actually be deployed on all X Factor performances.

30. This isn’t a demand as such but bear in mind Status Quo have an acoustic album coming out. It’s called… ‘Aquostic’.

31. The thing is, Rihanna’s at a point now where if she doesn’t want to release an album, she just won’t. That’s the problem. She’s too big. This is our fault, and your fault. We created a monster.

32. Released on November 3, James Blunt‘s ‘Moon Landing (Apollo Edition)’ is perhaps the quintessential Q4 release. You know those ‘hilarious’ videos of posh actors reading out deranged tweets and YouTube comments? We would like this James Blunt release to include a hidden track in which James Blunt’s tweets are read out in a posh voice, ie by James Blunt.

33. Do you think Sia might release a second single at some point?

34. The BBC Music Awards – which take place on December 11 – need to be properly amazing and they need to be a proper snapshot of what people around the country actually enjoy listening to, ie it can’t just be a wobbleboard player off Jools Holland, Clean Bandit, and a ‘once in a lifetime’ collaboration between Tinie Tempah and some sort of symphony orchestra. It’ll be hosted by Fearne Cotton and Chris Evans.

35. Speaking of Fearne Cotton, don’t panic guys – there’s a Radio 1 Live Lounge compilation album out on October 27! We’d like to see Fearne Cotton write track-by-track sleevenotes for this one, and under each and every song title we’d like to see one of these three phrases: “Goosebumps.” “Real talent.” “Just wow.”

36. The 2014 Popjustice Twenty Quid Music Prize has to be won by a brilliant song. This year’s shortlist is the strongest in years; if you’d like to join us in London to be part of the judging process see this page for details.

37. Sam Bailey’s due to appear on the X Factor semi-final, flogging the new edition of her album ‘The Power Of Love’. We can’t seem to find the artwork online yet so we’re hoping there’s still time for her label to consider one of these suggestions.

DOWNTON-BOLLOCKS

38. ‘Christmas At Downton Abbey’ is out on November 10. It features cast members singing and if there isn’t a version of ‘Fancy’ by Hugh Bonneville and Maggie Smith the whole release will be entirely pointless.

39. Seriously, if there isn’t a sniff of Rihanna by the first week of December we’re hiring a lookalike, a soundalike, some songwriters and a video director and sorting this out ourselves. Someone has to take responsibility for this shambles.

40. Right. Sugababes. Mutya Keisha Siobhan. Whatever they’re called these days. Something, as they posted just yesterday, is actually happening. We know ‘something’ is ‘happening’ every fortnight with that lot, but it does seem like something’s moving along this time. Moving forward we should probably look at Sugababes not as potential chart-toppers whose releases should be judged on their commercial success. Instead we must see this whole thing as a beautiful pop miracle that we are privileged to witness. They’ll put out some music at some point. It’ll be great. And that, really, should be enough.

41. Is there any chance Little Mix could pull their forty fingers out please because a lyrically generic but sonically fantastic empowerment banger is exactly what we all need during the cold Q4 months.

42. December 13 is Beyoncé Day. Beyoncé Day is the day on which any artist whose release schedule has gone a bit wonky during the preceding twelve months is required, by law, to just chuck an album on iTunes. It’s the day on which artists and labels cut their losses on slightly messy attempts to make or release an album. In a way, Beyoncé Day is a solid incentive to labels not to mess around. They can’t say “oh dear radio isn’t playing the single we thought we’d launch the album with, let’s try again with another one in four months and hope for the best”. Artists, meanwhile, can’t say “I’m not sure if this album is cohesive as a body of work, let’s scrap everything and start again”. The rule is this: if you’ve recorded an album’s worth of songs (which is twelve of them), it goes on sale on December 13 whether you like it or not.

43. Beyoncé should beyoncé an album on Beyoncé Day. (NOT A REMIX ALBUM.) (MAYBE THE BEY & JAY DUETS ALBUM.)

44. It goes without saying that if the music industry agrees to stick to the rules outlined above, Beyoncé Day may well be the day we receive a surprise Rihanna album.

robyn

45. Remember that thing the other week where Robyn was saying she’d recorded a new EP with Markus Jägerstedt and the late Christian Falk? Well let’s have that in the middle of November please, because nothing says Christmas quite like Robyn. If we could have another EP of the Jam & Lewis stuff in Q1 that’d be brill, cheers.

46. Do you think Adam Lambert might sneak a new single out over the Christmas period?

47. The biggest release day of Q4 comes just over halfway into the season of goodcashcows: on November 24 alone there are album releases from David Guetta, Nicki Minaj, Olly Murs and Susan Boyle. You know it’s an important date – the latest Now compilation’s out too. On this date we’d also like a surprise release of a Britney EP.

48. A number of proposed Q4 UK releases by Popjustice-approved solo singers of song have slipped back to 2015. These include albums by Tove Lo, Ella Eyre, Charli XCX, Indiana and Rita Ora. Ironically, by attempting to avoid a Q4 solo singer bottleneck, these artists may collectively have created a brand new one in Q1. Many of these will probably leak in the tail end of Q4, so that will be something to spice up the BLOODY BORING period between Christmas and New Year.

49. Did we mention Rihanna?

RIHANNA-GET-ON-WITH-IT

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25 name suggestions for The X Factor’s absurd eight-piece boyband http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/25-name-suggestions-for-the-x-factors-absurd-eight-piece-boyband/131357/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/25-name-suggestions-for-the-x-factors-absurd-eight-piece-boyband/131357/#comments Sat, 04 Oct 2014 13:38:17 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=131357 8-piece-x-factor-boyband-fiasco

It is claimed that The X Factor’s ludicrous/possibly amazing eight-piece boyband are still looking for a name. They are even running a competition to look for a suitable moniker.

Let’s assume for one moment that this is a genuine predicament and not one that has been invented in an attempt to increase #engagement in the run-up to the live finals. Let’s just go with it and accept that this band does actually need a decent name.

Here are 25 suggestions, any one of which would surely be perfect.

1. Better Eight Than Never

2. Huit Just A Goddamn Minute

3. #8anter

4. It Must Be Something I Eight

5. Love Octually

6. 8 Seconds Of Q4

7. A Huge Evergrowing Pulseighting Boyband That Rules From The Centre Of Fountain Studios

8. Byte

9. Variable Interest R8

10. Middle Eight

11. Bottom Eight

12. Maids-A-Milking

13. One Fat Lady

14. Magic 8 Ball

15. Magic 16 Balls

16. TUV

17. Identical Hairpieces Of Eight

18. 5ive And Some Spares

19. Green With EnVIII

20. Triple 8 ÷ 3

21. 2w0Cub3d

22. Myriad Directions

23. Eight Boys One Haircut

24. Leave It M8 It’s Not Worth It

25. OctAve A Banana

You’re welcome, mystery X Factor boyband. You are so welcome.

(Readers – if you’d like to use one of the above names to enter that competition please go right ahead – they do st8 “don’t use the number or word 8″ quite clearly but we think some of our suggestions are strong enough to make them change their minds.)

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Jennifer Davies has the biggest roll of Bacofoil you have ever seen http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/jennifer-davies-has-the-biggest-roll-of-bacofoil-you-have-ever-seen/131351/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/jennifer-davies-has-the-biggest-roll-of-bacofoil-you-have-ever-seen/131351/#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 14:14:03 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=131351 jennifer-davies

We’ve been following Jennifer Davies‘ pop adventures for a few years now.

We’ve covered her as she’s made music in a number of guises whose names have become less and less unorthodox: first she was the singer in Soft Toy Emergency, then she reinvented herself as Vela, then she had a bash at being Jenn D. Now she’s just Jennifer Davies, but while her moniker’s about as down to earth as it can get her music’s hit a bold new creative streak. We’ve liked each of her varied incarnations in different ways, but it’s this latest one that makes the most sense.

Jennifer recently whacked online a free EP of tunes; we’ll chuck all the tracks at the bottom of this post but first up here’s a premiere of dramatic electropowerballad ‘Choke’.

Pretty good right?

This is ‘Silhouette':

This is the just-very-slightly-Kylie-esque video she and her longterm collaborator Maxx Peter made for ‘Lapse Of Time':

This is ‘Cant Get Used To Losing You':

And this is ‘Disconnected’.

As we mentioned, you can get the whole EP as a free download…

…and you can keep up with Jennifer on Twitter and Facebook.

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Pixie Lott’s current single is actually alright http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/pixie-lotts-current-single-is-actually-alright/131342/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/pixie-lotts-current-single-is-actually-alright/131342/#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 10:42:53 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=131342 pixie lott 2014

We like to laugh at Pixie Lott don’t we. How we laugh!

HA. Pixie Lott with her songs that aren’t selling as well as the songs that sold well.

HA HA. Pixie Lott with those endorsement deals she does that aren’t quite as classy as those endorsement deals Beyoncé does.

HA HA HA. Pixie Lott with her appearance on Strictly Come Dancing.

HA HA HA HA. Pixie Lott who has the audacity to carry on with her career even though you listen to ‘Boom Clap’.

HA HA HA HA HA. Pixie Lott with her covetable lifestyle, her strong vocal talent, her double platinum debut album, her eye-wateringly hot model boyfriend and her decent public profile, but let’s ignore all the stuff she’s got going for her because HA HA HA HA HA HA.

It’s no secret that Pixie’s most recent comeback single ‘Nasty’ was a load of old shit and the last thing she needed at a point in time when only a certified belter would really have done the trick in terms of full-on career resuscitation, and it’s also true that ‘Break Up Song’ is a good song.

So what do we all do?

Do we as music fans ignore this good single because other people consider Pixie Lott a laughing stock? Or do we say, actually, fuck that, let’s give it a few listens over the next few weeks, let’s enjoy it when it’s on the radio (caveat: this song will probably not be on the radio for reasons outlined below), and let’s maybe come across it a few years from now quite by accident and think to ourselves “actually do you know what it’s nice to hear this again”?

Obviously it is the year 2014. XCX AD. ‘Break Up Song’ doesn’t really sound very 2014 any more than Pixie Lott seems like the sort of artist who’d get a record deal in 2014. But are we so obsessed with living every minute of our lives on the bleeding edge of pop that every song we let into our ears has to have MNEK or someone off The Hype Machine or one of Dr Luke’s team somewhere in the writing and production credits, or a sodding banjo in the mix?

‘Break Up Song’ is a good song. It is not a song that will change the world. It is not the second coming of ‘We Found Love’. It’s somewhere above a 6/10 and somewhere below a 7/10.

Yes, we know, ‘good enough’ isn’t good enough. Demand excellence at all times from all popstars. Blah blah blah. But are there so many a-list world class 10/10 Max Martin-level epic bangers floating around that we can consume a balanced pop diet by only listening to those songs?

You don’t have to buy Pixie’s album. In fact we’d strongly suggest you don’t, because it’s not very good. But that’s not the point. The point is that not everything in pop has to be your next obsession. It’s fine to just like something. You don’t have to spend £18.99 (or whatever Pixie’s rate is) on a VIP meet and greet ticket. You don’t have to declare your undying love for Pixie Lott on Facebook. You don’t have to get “MAMA DO” tattooed repeatedly up and down the length of your cock.

Pop music needs its Charlis. But sometimes it also needs its Pixies. It needs people who’ll knock out a good song every now and again. It needs popstars who’ll turn up on time, sing a good song well and get out.

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The actual best bit of the Olly Murs lyric video… http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/the-actual-best-bit-of-the-olly-murs-lyric-video/131327/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/the-actual-best-bit-of-the-olly-murs-lyric-video/131327/#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 07:35:25 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=131327 …is this.

pj_220

It’s actually a different bridge so 6/10 overall but it was a decent attempt.

(You can watch the rest of it here but you’ve already seen the best bit so you might be better off doing something else with 3:09-plus-preroll of your time.)

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Boyband Blowout: TBA http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/boyband-blowout-tba/131040/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/boyband-blowout-tba/131040/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 16:06:54 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=131040 tba

Where are they from?

TBA are from various locations, all TBA.

Who are they?

TBA is an eight-piece octopop experiment that exists in the mind of Simon Cowell, and probably also in some sort of secret safehouse or behind the padlocked door of a far-flung branch of Big Yellow Self Storage. But TBA do not yet exist for viewers of this year’s X Factor. Those viewers may well have seen the members audition as soloists but are still to witness the outfit on stage together. (They were unveiled during the filmed bootcamp sessions at Wembley, but we’re fucked if we can find a photo online.)

What do they do?

Sing, dance, look pretty happy until the third album campaign rolls around by which point they’re just hanging on for the cash and wearing hats that make them look like witches etc etc etc.

Did they do the ice bucket challenge?

Sadly TBA do not appear to have done the Ice Bucket Challenge but it would make a good setpiece when it comes to the live finals, would it not? GET FRIEDMAN ON THE PHONE.

What do their fans say?

This, like the band’s name, is TBA. But you can probably imagine how it will all pan out.

What is their best song?

It’s fair to assume they’ll be covering a Sam Smith tune at some point during the live finals. So, not that one.

What’s next?

You’ll find out this weekend during one of the three (!) X Factor episodes ITV are chucking onto the airwaves.

Where are they?

Like we say they’re probably in a Cowell safehouse (ie Sinitta’s garden shed) but you would expect Syco to ensure that by this time next year they’re here, there and round the corner because if they’re not then what, quite frankly, is the point?

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