THE LATEST. Highs and lows from the pop frontline

Years & Years have announced their album so here’s a live video of ‘King’

Posted by Popjustice on Mar 18 2015 at about 10:03


They have had a Number One single and now they are going to release an album. They are Years & Years. That is their name.

Their album, meanwhile, is called ‘Communion’ and it includes songs called things like ‘1977’ and ‘Track 10′. You can pre-order it here. (The band’s official shop is banging out a 2x vinyl version which sounds quite nice.)

Anyway in honour of all that here is the video of the band doing ‘King’ at Heaven in London.

That song is still amazing.

Oh, you might as well have a stream of a song called ‘Worship’ while you’re at it.



Posted by Popjustice on Mar 12 2015 at about 16:05






This is actually quite an enjoyable song isn’t it? It’s called ‘The Greatest’. We probably wouldn’t go that far to be honest but it’s still pretty good.

Well done everyone.

Farewell, songs that sound like other songs

Posted by Popjustice on Mar 11 2015 at about 11:17


We love songs that sound like nothing you’ve ever heard before, but we also love songs that sound like other songs.

Sometimes we love them before we know they sound like another song – for instance it was a Popjustice reader who brought to our attention the fact that Rixton’s ‘Me And My Broken Heart’ sounded quite a lot like Rob Thomas’ ‘Lonely No More’.

But sometimes, we love songs that very obviously set out to reference other songs. Mark Ronson happily admits that ‘Uptown Funk’, for instance, was influenced by Quincy Jones. But that’s partly what makes it amazing. It’s kind of the whole point. It doesn’t plagiarise and it’s still something new. Last year, La Roux’s ‘Uptight Downtown’ gave a nod to David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’, but again it didn’t plagiarise and it was still a brilliant creation in its own right. (We originally thought ‘Born This Way’ appearing to gently homage ‘Express Yourself’ was an example of that but things didn’t pan out very well when we put it to Lady Gaga, who hasn’t spoken to us since. Well done everyone.)

In the case of Rixton the two songs sounded so alike that Rixton quickly gave Rob Thomas a writing credit on the song. Chatting to Popjustice before Christmas, Jake from Rixton joked that Rod was “probably really happy about it sitting on his yacht”, explaining that “we spoke to Rob when the song first came around and he’s very close with Benny [Blanco], our producer, so we just got the okay from him.”

Crisis averted, then – but that’s an instance of a song being directly influenced by both the sound and the melody of another song, and it’s a bit different to what happened yesterday with ‘Blurred Lines’ and Marvin Gayes’ ‘Got To Give It Up’.

‘Blurred Lines’ might sound similar to ‘Got To Give It Up’ in the sense that you could make a YouTube mashup out of the two, but these are, very clearly, different songs. ‘Blurred Lines’ might not have been as big a hit without the bits that sound like Marvin Gaye, but nor would it have been a hit without the bits that don’t sound like Marvin Gaye. You might say that yesterday’s decision is great news because now people will make more original songs. Actually, that’s nonsense, because songs that sound like other songs are incredible, and yesterday’s verdict lifts the manhole to a whole river of shit.


Maybe the ‘Blurred Lines’ verdict is right. Maybe the sound of a song should be more closely protected – as much effort goes into making a song sonically distinctive as goes into writing a unique topline, and you only need to look at the songs Radio 1 playlist to see that the way a song sounds is often more important than the melody, vocal or lyrics.

But if producers and songwriters now feel the need to steer clear of anything and everything that’s come before in case they get landed with a $7M bill somewhere down the line, just think of all the amazing songs that just won’t exist from this moment forwards. Right or wrong, unless it’s overturned, yesterday’s decision will change the course of pop. And we’ll never know what the next ‘Uptown Funk’ might have been.

So long, Zane Lowe, and thanks for all the shouting about Kasabian

Posted by Popjustice on Mar 05 2015 at about 16:35


We spent a long time not really bothering to listen to Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 show, which ends tonight after more than a decade on air.

Our decision was based on the fact that we thought it would be a load of shouting about Kasabian. But we needed something to listen to while we were making dinner, and we settled on Zane.

To be honest we weren’t completely wrong on the ‘shouting about Kasabian’ front, but it was soon obvious there was a lot more to his presenting style than shouting, and there was a lot more to the music than Kasabian.

There are two main points here:

1. The breadth and depth of his passion for music was and is unrivalled at Radio 1
Nobody else at that station gets or gets excited by music in the way Zane gets and gets excited by it. That excitement is contagious: playing new music is one thing, but championing that music is something very different, and hearing Zane going berserk about a new tune was always a joy. He also played a lot more pop than we would ever have expected. During Zane’s time at Radio 1 the distinction between pop and other genres has blurred in a confusing but brilliant way and music fans are more receptive than ever before to multiple genres. We’d say Zane’s been responsible for a lot of that shift. His legacy, if nothing else, is a partial ceasefire in the genre wars.

2. If you were in a band, you’d want to be interviewed by Zane Lowe.
Without steamrollering his guests he’d conjure an unusually zippy pace in interviews, even with the most monosyllabic indie acts. He’d give them room to breathe in an interview, but he wouldn’t give them the space to drift away.

We’ve never found his show to be a particularly relaxing listen, but for all the right reasons – we’d rarely go half an hour without needing to Shazam something, or making a note to write about it or investigate a song further. This is what we Shazammed last night while boiling some water for some spaghetti. It’s pretty much the opposite of a Kasabian song.

Zane would be the first to admit – in fact he’ll happily volunteer the information – that his show was a team effort, so while Zane’s heading to Apple we haven’t lost everything that made the show great. The rest of the team, presumably, will continue to work in radio, and Zane’s unique approach to music will certainly filter through into other shows. This said, UK radio loses its best DJ tonight, and that’s an almighty pisser.

Farewell, then, to a man so amazing that we’d even put up with occasional shouting about Kasabian. A man so amazing that – and this is the ultimate accolade – a Swedish boyband did a song about listening to him.

Let’s finish with that song, the aptly-titled ‘King Of The Radio’.




Posted on Mar 05 2015 at about 09:48. comments