Something strange is happening in this week's new releases. It's as if in several different parts of the world a small number of popstars have independently decided that this is the week when pop must finally collapse in on itself.
Black Eyed Peas sampling Rhythm Of The Night? Sure! Pusha T chucking the Succession theme tune on a song? Fine! Hanne Leland banging out The Sound Of Silence, Sondr reworking Eiffel 65's Blue, Baby Ariel interpolating Lou Reed, Lucas & Steve singing new words over A-ha's Take On Me? THIS IS ALL ABSOLUTELY NORMAL. There's a dodgy Freak Like Me remix knocking around somewhere this week, too. (Most of this stuff, I should add, hasn't made this week's playlist.)
To top it all off someone called Scott Walker has decided to launch a pop career in spite of the fact that pop's Scott Walker quota (which is 1) is already full, meaning that the Spotify artist page for one of music's most epic voices now lists his first posthumous release as being a money-for-old-rope house effort. I'm sure it's what he would have wanted.
- Song Of The Week by about half a mile is E^st's new one Talk Deep, which finds her reunited with Jim Eliot and is both BREATHY and PERKY. It's the first look at her debut album I'm Doing It which is a) a really extraordinary new body of work, b) due next year and c) and a handy reminder, for the time being, that E^st's existing catalogue of pop is very much work revisiting.
- Harry Styles is veering into Zayn territory with Lights Up.
- Cher Lloyd has released a song called MIA but WHEN WILL MIA RELEASE A SONG CALLED CHER LLOYD?
- The latest Charlie's Angels song, How It's Done, features a lot of artists, none of whom will ever include this song in their live sets.
There's a chill in the air as a sense of expectation flashes in the eyes of children. That right: Q4 is here. In truth the relentless, merciless, year-round onslaught of Big Pop in the streaming era means that The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year has lost some of its power to Qs 2, 3 and 1, so fair play to Ellie Goulding and Andrea 'Bocelli' Bocelli for this week's release of Return To Love. Classic Q4 scenes.
Additional notes on this week's new releases:
- We've all heard variations on DeathbyRomy's (pictured above) new single many, many times before from many, many different artists, but this particular song by this particular artist totally hits the spot.
- The arrival of DJ Spoony's extremely polite reworking of early-2000s megabanger Sweet Like Chocolate — with Lily Allen on vocals — is quite exciting, if only because its release means that his version of Sweet Female Attitude's Flowers, with Sugababes, is just around the corner.
- The Swim Deep single is beautiful and very special.
- Phoning it in this week: Joe Stone.
This is it, isn't it? The most amazing song off the last Bastille album now has a video, which means it's a single. To be frank it's the most amazing Bastille single you're ever likely to hear. It's total Bastille. It's ultimate Bastille. It's Bastille: Endgame. It's IF YOU ARE EVER GOING TO LIKE A BASTILLE SONG, HAVING NOT LIKED PREVIOUS BASTILLE SONGS, HERE'S YOUR CHANCE. It's quite literally Bestille.
Where does this leave us? Well, we're all busy people so the good news is that you'll probably never need to listen to another new Bastille song. I mean, if they do pull it out of the hat at some point in the future I'll let you know, but all I'm saying for the time being is: enjoy this song, and live your life.
Last night 39 Popjustice readers spent four hours shouting at each other in a London pub. By the time the shouting stopped, Georgia's About Work The Dancefloor had seen off eleven other shortlisted songs and won the 2019 Popjustice Twenty Quid Music Prize.
Seriously, what a song.
As Georgia is the overall winner she'll be receiving the usual £20 (this year, supplied as two £10 notes), plus a pair of overalls.
Special mention should also go to The 1975, whose It's Not Living (If It's Not With You) — also an amazing song — missed out on the prize by just one vote.
Thanks to all last night's judges for committing themselves so wholeheartedly not just to the pursuit of pop justice, but also to the bar hitting its minimum spend requirement.
The Song Of The Week is Killing Butterflies by Lewis Blissett.
You may well have been wondering what life would be like if Billie Eilish were a bit more like Troye Sivan. On the other hand you might have been wondering how things would be if Troye Sivan were a bit more like Billie Eilish. Lewis 'Lewis' Blissett provides some sort of answer with his second Atlantic release Killing Butterflies, and brings the grand total of decent things to come out of the UK versions of The Voice to: two. (He was on The Voice Kids a few years ago.) (The other is Becky Hill, obviously.)
- Camila Cabello's gone a bit Clean Bandit on Liar, which I suppose really means she's gone a bit Ace Of Base. This is excellent behaviour that should be supported and quietly celebrated.
- The new Muna album, released today, comes in at twelve tracks and 43 minutes. The ideal album, at the ideal length.
- Maybe it just seems this way in the context of other Louis Tomlinson songs but the Louis Tomlinson song is… Not awful? Strong second-Babylon-Zoo-album vibes.
- There's nothing worse 'of a morning' than the distant crashing and screeching of a rubbish lorry reminding you that you forgot to put the bins out. Nothing to worry about today though, that's just the sound of Björk remixing Fever Ray.
The Song Of The Week is The Man by Taylor Swift.
In which Taylor echoes the sentiment of Beyoncé's If I Were A Boy and ends up at If I Were Still Taylor Swift But Also A Boy. Points are made.
- Taylor Swift is also responsible for the week's worst song, but that's the gift and the curse of the multifaceted pop entity, right?
- The new Unperfect single is their best yet. You cannot go wrong with an upward trajectory.
- The 1975: incredible racket.
- Poppy: incredible racket.
- Missy Elliott's first album in over a decade isn't actually an album because it's an EP but let's not allow the fact to get in the way of Comeback Excitement. One thing is certain, though: "I did records for Tweet before y'all could even tweet" is the lyric of the week.
- 5 Seconds Of Summer credit New Order in their new single, which seems quite strange. A bit of it sounds slightly like Rihanna's Blue Monday-interpolating Shut Up And Drive… Is that it?
- The Elusive Charlteuxcx releases new music this week after an absense of, ooh, several days. Miss U, off the new 13 Reasons Why, is album-worthy material. (It's not on the album.)
The Song Of The Week is Motivation by Normani.
Last time I checked the spreadsheet I noted that pop was overdue a new hero and here she is, with a little help from Ariana, Max, Ilya and Savan. The video is excellent about 37 different ways and constitutes what I reckon has to be 2019's definitive Supersar-Has-Landed moment.
- The Charli and Sky single is a swooping slab of melectrodrama that with any luck will establish this pairing as the new Pitbull & J.Lo. One song a summer, every summer: ideal.
- MUNA have billed their new song as a "trauma banger", which is five levels above a sadbanger on the gloomometer. "Trauma never sounded so good!!!" is the sort of thing people say in reviews isn't it?
- Swedish semi-superstar Vera Hotsauce (NOT HER REAL NAME) is really shaping up to be something special and One Time is an XCesque is a great step forward from the Red Pill EP, which came out earlier this year.
- Navvy is also sad on My Love, the key song on her new EP which is called — and she's not leaving any room for ambiguity here — The Breakup.
- For the avoidance of doubt, because I know a lot of you listen to playlists on shuffle, the new Darkness single is VERY MUCH THE BOTTOM SONG THIS WEEK.