THE LATEST. Highs and lows from the pop frontline

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

Celebrating 24 hours of the Carly Rae Jepsen single

Posted by Popjustice on Mar 02 2015 at about 17:48


Anniversaries are big business when it comes to today’s #content-starved money-for-old-rope internet landscape. It’s always ten years since a single was released, or twenty years since someone did something or other. It’s understandable that we sometimes feel anniversary fatigue, but today marks a special occasion we can all get behind. On this day a day ago, the Carly Rae Jepsen single ‘I Really Like You’ came into our lives.

These days we might take ‘I Really Like You’ for granted, but there was a time before those brave souls of the internet leaking brigade fought for their right – all our rights – to hear ‘I Really Like You’. They did what they had to do, and society was a better place. Shout out to those unsung heroes!

Quickly, of course, came a defining, bold statement from Carly Rae Jepsen herself: an upload that quickly became known in fan circles as ‘official audio’.

Thinking back, the world was a very different place back then. Madonna’s ‘Living For Love’ had yet to storm the Top 40; all around the world people were thinking about what Monday would bring.

But while our lives might be quite different now, people still remember where they were they first heard ‘I Really Like You’. Even today. Such is the power of Carly Rae Jepsen’s pop-cultural monolith that even the passage of time cannot dull the memory of that first listen.

Think back now and you, surely, can remember your own first listen to ‘I Really Like You’. Perhaps you can remember who you were with, or where you were. Consider your younger self: you might remember your own ambitions and fears. And however your life might have changed since then, you will surely remember the hope ‘I Really Like You’ brought into your life. We’re all older and wiser now, but back then Carly Rae Jepsen seemed to offer a future packed with possibilities. She gave hope.

Yet who now remembers how it all started?

These days the history books rightly focus on March 1 2015 – who’s feeling old?! – as the day ‘I Really Like You’ changed the world, but the story actually began earlier than that. In December 2014, for instance, CRJ tweeted this message.

Little did her fans know that their world – THE world – was about to change.

By February 2015, there was a blast of the song’s chorus, thanks to a post on Instagram – an image and video sharing website that was popular in those days. In it Carly Rae Jepsen was pictured cavorting with the actor Tom Hanks.

(Amazingly Tom Hanks is still alive today – and vividly remembers shooting that video with Carly!)

When the Instagram video appeared, music website Popjustice, which of course was much better in those days, wrote an article titled ‘Get the fuck out of the way, the new Jeppo single’s coming through’. “We think it only fair to warn you,” Popjustice wrote, “that this could be the greatest song of all time. Plan accordingly.”

A fortnight later the song appeared online and was, indeed, the greatest song of all time.

And suddenly everything changed. In an instant, an entire generation’s lives were altered. And there was no looking back. Pop music had turned a corner – that was quickly apparently. But as time went by it seemed that humanity, too, had found a new focus. And that focus was ‘I Really Like You’.

Even after all this time, it still feels like yesterday.

Happy anniversary, ‘I Really Like You’.


Neon Hitch has a new mixtape out

Posted on Mar 02 2015 at about 11:00. comments