Popjustice » The Briefing http://www.popjustice.com 100% Solid Pop Music Tue, 02 Sep 2014 08:38:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 No. http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/no/130358/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/no/130358/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:30:16 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=130358

Nice idea. Shame really.

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Should Jessie J leave the country? http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/should-jessie-j-leave-the-country/130275/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/should-jessie-j-leave-the-country/130275/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:45:16 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=130275 Jessie J new

You may have read over the weekend that Jessica ‘Jessie Cornish’ J has sold her London home, and has bought one in LA.

The good news is that none of this is because she’s not under investigation for criminal activity. She’s not fleeing to avoid justice! Instead, she wants to go somewhere where her talents are appreciated.

Here’s what she had to say to the Daily Mail. (Warning – hyperlinked text contains link to Mail Online.)

“In America they see me as a singer whereas here I feel that people don’t appreciate my voice. I’ve dedicated my life to singing and I want it to be taken seriously. Here it seems that all people want to know is what I’ve had for breakfast and who I’m sleeping with.”

It’s sad that Jessie J feels unappreciated in the UK. Maybe she should try being Pixie Lott for a week. But the question is: should she move to America? Or should we attempt to make her change her mind?

Let’s look at the evidence.


She may well find that her voice is better accepted in America. In the UK we have a problem with what we call ‘showing off’, even when it comes to popstars, musicians and people whose actual job is to show off a bit. Sing but don’t over-sing. Collect an award but don’t look too pleased with yourself. That sort of thing. In America this idea of ‘showing off’ is more likely to be identified as ‘letting your talents run free’. There are loads of big-lunged vocal run espousers over there.


There are LOADS of big-lunged vocal run espousers over there. In the UK Jessie J is one of the few big actual popstars who can properly belt out ludicrous notes. She is a big fish in a small bucket. Does she have what it takes to offer American audiences something they feel (or don’t realise) they’re missing? Or would it be like Cheryl going home? (Cole to Newcastle.) (Like coals to Newcastle.) (This would have worked better before she changed her name.)


This could be just the right time to make that move. With the VMAs performance still fresh in the mind of the US public, and the Ariana/Nicki single ‘Bang Bang’ actually turning out to be a proper hit, this could be just the right time to stomp-stomp-arrive in America. The UK will just have to make do with the occasional promo trip. That will teach us to underappreciate our popstars.


If you compare big US pop releases with big UK pop releases, it’s not unusual to find yourself wondering if America simply has far higher standards. And quite different expectations. Last year Jessie’s second album ‘Alive’ came out in the UK and under-performed; her US label simply refused to release it. (Even though ‘Thunder’ was amazing.) “The American label don’t think it will work for their territory,” Jessie told Digital Spy at the time. “That’s not my decision – I wish I could explain that in detail to my fans. The label does have power and if they don’t think it will work for their territory, I can’t force them to put it out.”


Hang on, the US label wanting bigger, better songs isn’t a con at all really, is it? It’s only a con if you’re incapable of pulling it off, or lack the confidence to even try. Jessica Cornish certainly does not lack confidence, so she’s at least halfway there.


As she noted in the Daily Mail interview, Jessie is sad that in the UK “it seems that all people want to know is what I’ve had for breakfast and who I’m sleeping with”. But could it be the case that the US media – not exactly known for its aversion to showbiz tittle tattle – isn’t interested in these things because it’s doesn’t yet care? And that as soon as she becomes properly huge in America (as is her plan), she’ll get the full breakfast and bonking treatment anyway?


The weather is usually better.

There’s certainly a lot to think about there. But now we ask you, the Popjustice reader, to help Jessie J make up her mind. It’s important here that you put to one side your own opinions. Instead, consider only what is best for Jessie J.

So now we ask – again, considering it was in the headline – should Jessie J leave the country?


The vote is now closed and we can reveal that a very mean 15.6% of you want Jessie J to stay in the UK where she is unappreciated.

On the other hand a heartening 84.4% of you have magnanimously decided that Jessie should be able to follow her heart and move to America.

Jessie, if you’re reading this we wish you all the best in your future endeavours and, if you do make the move to America, we hope you find the appreciation you are looking for.

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Notes on preparing for a POP MONSTER http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/notes-on-preparing-for-a-pop-monster/130005/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/notes-on-preparing-for-a-pop-monster/130005/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 15:16:06 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=130005 pop-monsters-likely

It’s easy to be complacent but we would like to take this opportunity to remind all Popjustice viewers of the very real threat that a POP MONSTER could at any moment appear from nowhere and devour your entire Twitter feed.

A POP MONSTER can take one of three forms.

Some POP MONSTERS roar into view with a reasonable amount of warning. For instance there’s tonight’s Taylor Swift Swiftogeddon event, in which Taylor Swift will almost certainly unveil a new song during a pre-announced live stream. That kicks off at about 10pm UK time.

In other cases, such as Charli XCX‘s forthcoming single ‘Break The Rules’, you feel that the signs are there for a song to simply appear at any moment. (Case in point: The Charli XCX single did indeed appear while we were editing this post.)

And then there’s the ever-present threat of a Full Beyoncé. (Please refer to our earlier discussion of what does and does not constitute a Full Beyoncé.) Again, we urge readers not to be complacent – with one new Nicki Minaj remix already out there and another, Rihanna-featuring remix being rumoured online, there is a very real threat of Beyoncé re-beyoncéing ‘BEYONCÉ’ as a full-on remix album in the coming days or weeks. Naturally, Rihanna herself could simply dump a comeback single online at any moment.

Don’t forget that any of the above types of POP MONSTER may also leak ahead of schedule, resulting in a full-scale pop emergency.

Preparing for the appearance of a POP MONSTER is as important psychologically as it is physically. It goes without saying that your body should be ready – but is your mind ready?

  • If you know a big release is coming, have you been listening to that artist’s back catalogue back to back in order to reacquaint yourself with their amazingness?
  • If you know the title of the song, have you already thought about how you will use that title in the wording of an amusing reaction tweet?
  • If you’re heading out and have reason to suspect a POP MONSTER outbreak may occur, can you relax knowing that your phone is fully charged?

Of course, preparing for a POP MONSTER is only any use if you’re also prepared for how you will deal with the aftermath.

This is why we have prepared a POP MONSTER instant response form. It’s important that you complete this form after any attack from a POP MONSTER.

Click here for the POP MONSTER instant response form and make sure it’s bookmarked for easy retrieval in the event of a surprise POP MONSTER attack. 

Good luck!

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Deluxe Edition. August 27. Indiana, Amelia Lily, Ace Wilder, Rashelle, M.O and MNEK. Blimey. http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/deluxe-edition-august-27-indiana-amelia-lily-ace-wilder-rashelle-m-o-and-mnek-blimey/129915/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/deluxe-edition-august-27-indiana-amelia-lily-ace-wilder-rashelle-m-o-and-mnek-blimey/129915/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 09:16:46 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=129915 popjustice deluxe edition august 2014

It’s a popstar pileup.

Appearing at the next Popjustice Deluxe Edition, which takes place in just under two weeks, we have:

1. Indiana

2. Amelia Lily

3. Ace Wilder

4. M.O

5. Rashelle

6. And – ‘spinning some tunes’ – MNEK

All these acts are amazing in different ways and it’s going to be a good night – to get your name on the door use the form below but do remember that, as ever, entry’s on a first come first served basis.

See you on the 27th!


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The Knocks have bashed together 2014′s greatest mixtape http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/the-knocks-have-bashed-together-2014s-greatest-mixtape/129881/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/the-knocks-have-bashed-together-2014s-greatest-mixtape/129881/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 20:56:06 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=129881 the-knocks-back

You are about sixty seconds away from installing one of those dodgy SoundCloud-downloading browser extensions that everyone pretends don’t exist and we most certainly do not endorse.

The Knocks (whose work we have covered before on numerous occasions) have a new single out shortly and where some acts might whack out just any old #contentbollocks in an attempt to drum up interest these two have – we believe quite intentionally – invented a mixtape so incredible that you will struggle to believe what is going into your ears.

Take a look at this tracklisting.

  • Jackson 5 – I Want You Back (Z-Trip remix)
  • The Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive (The Teddybears remix)
  • Stevie Wonder – Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours
  • Simon & Garfunkel – Cecilia
  • White Town – Your Woman
  • Talking Heads – Burning Down The House
  • EMF – Unbelievable
  • Fatboy Slim – Praise You
  • Justin Timberlake – Senorita
  • Chic – I Want Your Love (Todd Terje edit)
  • Shannon – Let The Music Play
  • Khia – My Neck, My Back (Lick It)
  • Madonna – Into The Groove
  • New Order – Bizarre Love Triangle
  • KC & The Sunshine Band – That’s The Way I Like It
  • Daft Punk – Da Funk
  • Ohio Players – Rollercoaster
  • Slave – Just A Touch Of Love
  • Talking Heads – Once in A Lifetime
  • Soul II Soul – Back To Life
  • Morrissey – The Last of The International Playboys
  • Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls
  • Paul Simon – You Can Call Me Al (Flight Facilities edit)
  • Salt ‘n’ Pepa – Push It
  • Bruce Springsteen – I’m On Fire (Cousin Cole edit)
  • The Clash – Rock The Casbah (B-Roc/Funkagenda refix)
  • Junior Senior – Move Your Feet
  • Fleetwood Mac – Dreams (Gigamesh remix)
  • The Smiths – This Charming Man (Luis Leon bootleg)
  • The Knocks feat Powers – Classic

And take a listen to this.

Now that’s how you do a mixtape.

There’s some explanatory blurb they’ve put on SoundCloud which we have copied and will now paste: “Everyone has their own definition of the word ‘classic’ and their own opinions on what a ‘classic’ song is. This is a collection of songs from a range of different time periods and genres that we consider classic in our eyes. Some original versions, some edits or remixes but still classic song writing in our opinion. We hope you enjoy our walk down memory lane.”

Their single is called ‘Classic’ you see. It’s good. It’s right at the end of the above mixtape, but it’s also right at the end of this blog entry.

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Here’s a video of Conway in London. http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/heres-a-video-of-conway-in-london/129802/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/heres-a-video-of-conway-in-london/129802/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 18:17:55 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=129802 pj_128

Popstar-in-waiting Conway was in London a few weeks ago, playing some gigs (concerts), meeting some people and doing the various things one does when preparing to launch oneself as a recording artiste.

We ate a jolly nice lunch with her while she was here, and afterwards had an excellent chat. We haven’t written up the chat yet because it’s the end of the week and we were busy listening to Friday Bangers but considering she’s ‘teased’ some Popjustice content to her Twitter followers why not have a look at a video she made while she was in London.

In it you will see:

  • Conway standing by a large waterway
  • A duck
  • Conway observing that the being a popstar thing is “super incredible”
  • Various other things

Here it is:

You will note that a lot of the music in this video content is just a tiny bit on the shouty side but we’ve heard some of her proper album tracks and you can rest assured that big pop moments are in no short supply, so stay tuned.

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WORLD EXCLUSIVE: iamamiwhoami’s ‘Blue’, track by track http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/world-exclusive-iamamiwhoamis-blue-track-by-track/129764/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/world-exclusive-iamamiwhoamis-blue-track-by-track/129764/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 16:48:46 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=129764 Iamamiwhoamiblue

As you well know, iamamiwhoami are releasing a new album very soon, and for this reason have been teasing information in the last few days.

It’s all very exciting. There’s the video for ‘Tap Your Glass’, for instance.

Not to mention the tracklisting.

1. fountain
2. hunting for pearls
3. vista
4. tap your glass
5. blue blue
6. thin
7. chasing kites
8. ripple
9. the last dancer
10. shadowshow

As well as a trailer.

And the artwork, which we’ll post again in case you missed it at the top of this post.


But there’s not much ‘meat’ to this information. With an act like iamamiwhoami, who’ve enchanted fans with a complex narrative and created a sprawling, inventive and richly realised world in which to situate their work, it’s understandable that those fans would want to know just what exactly was going on in the duo’s minds when they recorded each and every song.

With this in mind we asked iamamiwhoami to give us a track by track guide to each of each of the songs on ‘Blue’.

Here it is.

1. ‘fountain’

2. ‘hunting for pearls’

3. ‘vista’

4. ‘tap your glass’

5. ‘blue blue’

6. ‘thin’

7. ‘chasing kites’

8. ‘ripple’

9. ‘the last dancer’

10. ‘shadowshow’

Any questions? No? Good. You can pre-order ‘Blue’ on iTunes right now.

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Is The Voice cursed? (Yes) http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/is-the-voice-cursed-yes/129708/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/is-the-voice-cursed-yes/129708/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 13:11:09 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=129708 leahmcfallbig

The Voice is a broken format.

Historically, it’s always been quite easy to dismiss the show’s inability to get a career off the ground: the singles by the show’s graduates had always been shit. There hasn’t been example of a post-Voice single which should (or at least could) have been a career-launching hit, so it’s been impossible to definitively state that the show just isn’t fit for purpose.

But Leah McFall’s ‘Home’, which was released last week, was not shit. It was distinctive and a bit quirky in its own way, but sounded enough like a contemporary chart hit. It had a good chorus. will.i.am was involved. That’s usually enough these days, right?

Last night it entered the charts at Number 56.

The main reason ‘Home’ – which we’ll say again is a PERFECTLY GOOD BRITISH POP SINGLE – missed the Top 40 is that it received virtually no radio play.

Now we’re as bored as you all are of sprawling media companies endlessly promoting the activity of one property within another, but you’d think one small benefit of BBC One’s The Voice being a BBC acquisition would be that if BBC One’s The Voice actually produced a single that sounded like the sort of thing BBC Radio 1 would usually play, then BBC Radio 1 might play it. Particularly as only weeks before that song’s release BBC Radio 1 was running ads asking for listeners to sign up to take part in the next series of BBC One’s The Voice. Because – much as BBC Radio 1′s independent stance is to be admired – if BBC Radio 1 won’t support BBC One’s The Voice when it eventually produces something decent, that would send out a pretty poor message.

So how did Radio 1 support the Leah McFall single? It wasn’t playlisted. But maybe there were a few spot plays here and there in the weeks leading to the single’s release? It’s time to consult the CompareMyRadio website, which explains that Radio 1 played ‘Home’ an impressive one time in the last month.

Fine. Perhaps, given Leah’s slightly more mature voice and influences, it simply fell to Radio 2 to bolster the BBC’s tacit claim that its flagship talent show can produce a star.

Perhaps not: Radio 2 also played ‘Home’ only once.

Elsewhere on CompareMyRadio we find that Global, the radio behemoth responsible for Capital ‘et al’ and the only other UK radio network capable of consistently breaking hit records, wouldn’t touch the Leah single with a shitty stick.

The BBC seems consistently wary of playlisting Global’s own in-house artists so we suppose it makes a certain sort of sense for Capital and the others to turn down a BBC act. But what we seem to have here is a situation where the BBC won’t support its own talent, and Global won’t support that talent because it’s associated with the BBC. In radio terms it then falls to Bauer (Heat, The Hits and so on), who did a decent job of breaking their own act Neon Jungle, and gave Leah a decent go, but just couldn’t make ‘Home’ a hit.

This has got a bit radio-heavy but the main point here is that if The Voice just isn’t capable of delivering an artist people are interested in – even if that artist is interesting and does deliver a decent song – it might as well pack up and go home. Of course we completely understand that in the short term a complete lack of star talent is of no concern whatsoever to The Voice’s producers, whose aim is to make a TV show rather than launch actual pop careers, and viewing figures have been fairly resilient so far. But as we approach the fourth season, isn’t it likely to be the case that audiences might start to wonder what the point of all this might be? To put it another way, where would The X Factor be if every now and again it didn’t throw up a Leona or a One Direction?

Sorry, Bo Bruce getting an album to Number 10, Andrea Begley spending one week at Number 7 and the Kaiser Chiefs doing quite well again just isn’t enough.

“Hang on though,” you might say. “What about Becky Hill?”

Well, Becky Hill, like Leah McFall, is indeed quite good. But it says a lot that she’s now at four positioning singles and counting – one as a guest vocalist with Wilkinson, another with Rudimental, a third with Oliver Heldens and a fourth – ‘Caution To The Wind’, her first ‘non-feature’, released two weeks ago – which didn’t chart.

‘Caution To The Wind’ was clearly intended as some sort of set-up release, an attempt to position her in a way that makes sense to potential fans. But there’s a point when repositioning actually becomes distancing. When an association with The Voice is a hindrance, not a help. Surely that’s not supposed to be the point of a show? To be such a curse to an emerging artist that they need to guest on three different singles by three different artists and release a deliberate flop to give themselves a fighting chance of being taken seriously? Certainly, if and when Becky Hill does deliver a bonafide hit single under her own steam it will be despite The Voice, rather than because of it.

Still, the show’s only (!) been renewed until 2017. Let’s hope the next three years deliver more success than the last three.

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‘Boom Clap’: the love affair continues http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/boom-clap-the-love-affair-continues/129583/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/boom-clap-the-love-affair-continues/129583/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:59:47 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=129583 BOOM CLAP CHARLI XCX LIVE

Can you remember a time before ‘Boom Clap’ existed in our lives?

Well we can, and it was rubbish. Everything before the point when some sort of administrative error led to Charli XCX having a Top 10 hit on her own was just really really shit.

Anyway ‘our pals’ (we’ve never met them) at Transmitter have created some video content involving Charli bashing out ‘Boom Clap’, and they are allowing Popjustice to premiere it. In the olden days she’d be celebrating her CHART DOMINATION with this sort of performance on CD:UK or Top Of The Pops. But time marches on. And it marches to a beat that goes BOOM BOOM BOOM…


If this has put you in the mood for a bit more ‘Boom Clap’ here’s what Billboard have billed as the ‘full remix EP’…

…although it doesn’t include the Cahill one, probably because it’s not cool enough or something.

Actually it doesn’t have the Hippie Sabotage one either. Very strange. But also, not to worry.

Let’s finish things off with an 8-bit version.


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Come to a special Foxes Q&A masterclass mentoring workshop thing! http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/come-to-a-special-foxes-qa-masterclass-mentoring-workshop-thing/129582/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/come-to-a-special-foxes-qa-masterclass-mentoring-workshop-thing/129582/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 09:32:59 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=129582 foxes-on-a-pink-background

On Thursday, Popjustice editor Peter Robinson will be chairing a bound-to-be-excellent Q&A session with the mighty Foxes, and you can come along if you fancy.

It’s happening in London (obviously) and here’s what it’s all about:

“Following her performance to launch the space on the 30th, Grammy award-winner Foxes will be running a mentoring workshop at the Glaceau vitaminwater shinebright studio on the 31st July to offer advice and inspiration for young creatives wanting to get ahead in the music industry. From music production and writing to promotion and industry tips, Foxes will be on hand to help participants be the best they can be. Open for 7 weeks this summer, the shinebright studio will be providing creative people with a place to exhibit, create and be inspired. Glaceau vitaminwater’s unique new pop up space will offer young creatives and entrepreneurs a range of exclusive opportunities to work with and be inspired by some of the biggest names in the entertainment and creative industries.”

We’re giving away twenty (TWENTY) pairs of tickets for the event, which promises be both entertaining and informative. To be honest it’s probably just worth coming along to see Peter attempting to manage a room full of people, an experience that promises to be almost as hilarious as reading him write about himself in the third person.

If you’d like to come along on Thursday (it starts at 6pm) just drop an email to foxesvitaminwaterthing@popjustice.com by 5pm today – we’ll let the winners know this evening.

You can find more information about the whole shinebright studio thing at www.shinebrightstudio.co.uk.

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