The Briefing – Popjustice https://www.popjustice.com 100% Solid Pop Music Mon, 26 Jun 2017 11:17:52 +0100 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 Your definitive guide to the new Official Chart rules https://www.popjustice.com/briefing/your-definitive-guide-to-the-new-official-chart-rules/ Mon, 26 Jun 2017 11:17:52 +0000 https://www.popjustice.com/?p=146319 Ed Sheeran basically made the charts change their rules. Here's what else will change...

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Today the UK’s Official Charts Company have announced The Sheeran Clause which, along with the continued avoidance of figures from sources like YouTube, ensures the charts continue to very poorly reflect the songs people are actually consuming.

According to the new rules a maximum of three singles by a lead artist will be allowed in the singles chart (yes this makes sense) and tracks that have been on the chart for more than ten weeks and have seen declining sales for more than three weeks (hang on) will have their streams-to-sales ratio (WHAT?) reduced from 150 to 300 (EH?!).

This is great news because it means the charts will be able to simply ignore some of the country’s most popular songs!

But not all the rules are as easy to follow as The Sheeran Clause. Here’s the full list of revisions we’ll see when the new chart rules come into effect.

1. THE SOMETHING JUST LIKE THIS RULE
Instant disqualification for songs in which a young act seeking legitimacy works with an older act desperate to stay relevant, meaning that such collaborations will move overnight from win/win to lose/lose.

2. THE DUA LIT TOASTER
Any song featuring Dua Lipa as the lead artist which has been described as ‘lit’ on social media will have its streaming numbers ‘warmed up’ — being awarded an extra 20% streams because Jesus Christ the UK needs to break a new pop artist.

3. THE LIPA SUCTION
Any song featuring Dua Lipa as featured artist will absorb an extra 5% streams, which will be extracted from the stream counts of the three songs below it. This is permissible up to a maximum of three Dua Lipa features per song, so in the instance of a song with 100,000 streams, combined with The Dua Lit Toaster, The Lipa Suction could result in a hefty boost for a song released by Dua Lipa (+20%) feat Dua Lipa (+5%), Dua Lipa (+5%) and Dua Lipa (+5%) — 138,915 streams in total.

4. THE BIEBER DIVIDER
All songs with a hastily-whacked-on Justin Bieber vocal will have their stream count reduced by 12% in an attempt to prevent labels gaming the chart. This also counts for songs promoted on social media by Justin Bieber if they are released by artists managed by Scooter Braun.

5. THE FEAT SUBTRACTOR
Zero tolerance on struggling female solo artists attempting to prop up their success by appearing on tracks by solo male aiming for little more than the ability to charge more for their DJ sets. (Dua Lipa exempt.)

6. THE “HEY ON, WHY?” LITERACY FAST EVAL
This rule will quickly evaluate whether songs containing a “HEY!” do so only due to the lyrical ineptitude of the songwriter. If the “HEY!” has been included to fill space because nobody can think of a decent lyric, the song will not be permitted to enter the Top 10.

7. THE BANDIT MULTIPLIER
Instant Number One for any Clean Bandit song with a decent video.

8. THE PUTH AMENDMENT
Reduced streams-to-sales ratio for all songs by Charlie Puth until he bucks his ideas up.

9. THE EU REVISION
Brexit does not apply to the Official Charts. All songs from the EU will be guaranteed full freedom of movement in the UK charts and songs by Eurovision winners will have their streaming figure decided by a series of international panels (midweek chart) in addition to a phone vote (Friday chart).

10. ARTICLE SHIFTK3Y
Upon activation this rule will state that all songs recorded, produced or co-written by Shiftk3y receive an extra 150,000 streams, which Shiftk3y can add to one weekly sales count of his choice. (Cannot be activated on week of release or after a song has been available for more than three months.)

11. THE 1D 1’LL FLY AWAY STIPULATION
A maximum of two songs by any former One Direction member in any Top 40 chart. This is operated as a strict one-in-one-out policy: whenever a song by a former 1D member qualifies for a chart, the oldest song by another former 1D member is immediately disqualified from the chart.

12. THE PINEAPPLE PRONOUNCEMENT 
No tropical house unless it’s really good, ie that song Matoma did with Becky Hill.

13. THE MENDES MANDATE
All Shawn Mendes songs have to be at least as good as ‘There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back’ or they risk being docked 20% of their streams. Song titles that end some words with ing and others with in’ will also lose 5% of their streams.

14. THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM
James from Busted will receive 500,000 bonus streams for writing a sequel to ‘What I Go To School For?’ in which Miss Mackenzie is arrested for inappropriate conduct with a pupil.

15. THE REGULATE REGULATION
Warren G and Nate Dogg to be guaranteed a spot in the UK Top 40 every summer between the months of June and August.

16. THE NICKI MINJUNCTION
To be honest the thesaurus is running out of synonyms for ‘rule’ so let’s bring things to close. The new rules come into effect next week. Good luck everyone!

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A reminder on the day of our Lorde June 16 2017 that the Hey Violet album is also really good https://www.popjustice.com/briefing/a-reminder-on-the-day-of-our-lorde-june-16-2017-that-the-hey-violet-album-is-also-really-good/ Fri, 16 Jun 2017 16:28:21 +0000 https://www.popjustice.com/?p=146210 There are big songs on this album.

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Look, none of us are are likely to stop or want to stop wallowing in the reassuringly predictable magnificence of the Lorde album before the end of the weekend and even after that it will be a daily listen long into 2018, by which point its melodies and lyrics will be imprinted in the DNA of several generations, destined to be passed through humanity for all eternity.

That said, the Hey Violet album is also pretty good.

Is it as good as the Lorde album? Well let’s not go down that particular ‘cul-de-sac’ because if we hold every other release up against ‘Melodrama’ we’re just going to make life very hard for ourselves, but it is absolutely fair and reasonable to state that for a band who first appeared as a slightly dodgy part of the 1D/5SOS pyramid scheme, Hey Violet have really pulled it out of the bag with ‘From The Outside’.

There are still hints of the ooh-look-here’s-a-real-band thing they kicked off with but elsewhere on the album you’ve got some super-smart big pop songs, some electronic production, some stuff that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the Halsey album and might have significantly improved the Katy Perry one, and even A COUPLE OF SONGS THAT KIND OF SOUND LIKE LORDE.

So there you go. If you need a breather from ‘Melodrama’ at any point, the Hey Violet album’s worth a spin.

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New Music Friday: Jax Jones, Demi Lovato and Stefflon Don at the top, Icona Pop at the bottom, various songs in between https://www.popjustice.com/briefing/new-music-friday-jax-jones-demi-lovato-and-stefflon-don-at-the-top-icona-pop-at-the-bottom-various-songs-in-between/ Fri, 16 Jun 2017 09:45:36 +0000 https://www.popjustice.com/?p=146203 (The Lorde album is good.)

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Song of the week:
Jax Jones, Demi Lovato and Stefflon Don — ‘Instruction’
YES it comes with its own dance routine.
YES there’s a siren in it.
YES it includes the line “if you’re The Supreme then I’m Diana Ross”.

Wrong of the week:
Icona Pop — ‘Girls Girls’
So this is where they’ve ended up. Shame really.

Additional notes:

  • Yes the Lorde album’s good.
  • But is it as good as the Hey Violet album?
  • It’s nice to have Shania back in the world but ‘Life’s About To Get Good’ could do with being 70% more ridiculous.
  • Zak Abel‘s still going.
  • The vivienxo song is A JOY.

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Lorde’s secret onion ring Instagram account is a good reminder that popstars walk among us https://www.popjustice.com/briefing/lordes-secret-onion-ring-instagram-account-is-a-good-reminder-that-popstars-walk-among-us/ Tue, 13 Jun 2017 14:40:27 +0000 https://www.popjustice.com/?p=146191 Is Taylor Swift following you on Twitter? PERHAPS SHE IS

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Probably the best pop news story of 2017 has to be this one from New Zealand ‘outfit’ Newshub, who unearthed what they say is a secret but public (and now removed) Instagram account through which Lorde has been anonymously reviewing the planet’s onion rings. Make sure you read the story if you haven’t already — they’ve done a good job of it — and it was first brought to our attention today by two Popjustice viewers over on Twitter, so thanks for that lads.

Presuming this whole thing is true (and it’s human nature to want this to be true more than you’ve wanted any other 21st century happening to be true) it’s a good reminder that the way popstars seem to behave on social media isn’t quite how they’re actually behaving on social media. They walk among us.

We’ve all read interviews where artists explain how impossible it is to lead a normal life. We think of those famous people surrounded by bodyguards and flashing lights but it often tends to be the case that if you don’t surround yourself with obvious bodyguards who might as well be carrying golf sale signs with “FAMOUS PERSON HERE ” on them then, well, the lights don’t flash as much, if at all.

Famous people have always found ways to hide in plain sight even if by definition we don’t really have any idea who’s done it most effectively. It’s hard not to love the story that came to light after David Bowie died, which explained that he used to walk around New York carrying a Greek newspaper. That can’t be David Bowie, people would think. Why would David Bowie be reading a Greek newspaper? It’s not always that subtle: Justin Bieber’s gone for a wig and fake beard and Freddie Mercury famously smuggled Princess Diana into a gay pub by dressing her as a man, but the most extreme notion of hiding in plain sight probably falls to Pet Shop Boys’ Chris Lowe, who at the height of the band’s fame could invert usual disguise etiquette by simply going out without his cap and sunglasses.

As fame has shifted to social media, so online disguises have given rise to a new set of tricks and protocols. Some popstars’ actual Facebook accounts are simply their real names with one or two letters changed so that they don’t come up in searches; others create entirely new personas.

Loads we’ve spoken to have secondary Twitter and Instagram accounts — in fact, for some, those secondary accounts are actually primary accounts, and they switch to the verified popstar accounts whenever they need to plug a YouTube link, express their excitement about appearing at yet another outdoor event, or pretend to enjoy interacting with fans. One account we saw was obviously the popstar in question but you wouldn’t have found it by searching, even if you might have found it by working backwards from people they’d been working with. Amazingly, one was posing as ONE OF THEIR OWN FANS, which allowed them to defend themselves when people on Twitter were being pissy.

Nothing really comes close to Lorde’s onion ring escapade — though the fact that this brilliant story happened to ’emerge’ around the release of Lorde’s album does rather make one wonder if Newshub’s tipoff from ‘a fan’ might actually have come from someone extraordinarily close to the Lorde camp. But that doesn’t really matter. The point is that if you tweet about popstars, unless you know the real identity of every single one of your followers you might unknowingly have a Taylor Swift, a Katy Perry or a Lady Gaga in your followers list.

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A parrot has been given an exclusive first listen of Calvin Harris’ ‘Funk Wav Bounces Vol 1’ https://www.popjustice.com/briefing/a-parrot-has-been-given-an-exclusive-first-listen-of-calvin-harris-funk-wav-bounces-vol-1/ Tue, 13 Jun 2017 09:00:51 +0000 https://www.popjustice.com/?p=146176 It seems pretty keen on the Travis Scott track.

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As you no doubt recall, 2011 was a classic year for parrots in pop.

We all took our eyes off our parrotular friends after that, but what happened in the intervening six years? Well, Calvin Harris ended up doing alright for himself but on the bird front those parrots simply grew up.

Back in the day they might have been exploited by pop artists as just another way to market records, but now they’ve become the planet’s biggest tastemakers. It’s bad news for the likes of Zane Lowe and Annie Mac, but it’s good news for the one lucky parrot who was given an opportunity to hear Calvin Harris’ upcoming album ‘Funk Wav Bounces Vol 1’.

Like most of us these days the parrot’s initial response to an album’s worth of new tracks was to skip through the whole thing at high speed, sampling snatches of each song to quickly locate the bangers and get acquainted with the overall feel of the album (SPOILER: if you didn’t like the last couple of singles you’re probably best off sitting this one out).

There’s some head-nodding at one point which is generally a good sign.

Whether or not the parrot returned to any of the tracks is a question that may never be answered as the nature documentary Calvin Harris tweeted last night ends rather abruptly, but we’d say the verdict is a cautious wings up.

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IT’S HAPPENING IT’S HAPPENING JESUS CHRIST IT’S FINALLY HAPPENING https://www.popjustice.com/briefing/its-happening-its-happening-jesus-christ-its-finally-happening/ Mon, 12 Jun 2017 16:06:40 +0000 https://www.popjustice.com/?p=146168 Carly Rae Jepsen's 'Cut To The Feeling' has pretty much conquered UK radio

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To coin (not coin quote but still) a phrase: here we… here we… here we fucking go!!!

This is proper dare-to-dream territory.

‘Cut To The Feeling’, the song which Carly Rae Jepsen consigned to the Jeppo Song Mountain when she compiled the ‘E•MO•TION’ album, the song WHICH WAS THEN LEFT ON THE REJECT HEAP when she whacked out that album’s accompanying b-side collection, the song which Jeppo didn’t even release as an international iTunes bonus track, the song which she basically left for dead in a bucket on the hard shoulder of the pop superhighway, and the song which has only now been released on the soundtrack of an extremely bad looking film, has been serviced to UK radio.

Radio 1’s Greg James has made it his Song Of The Week. This means it gets one play every single day this week.

Which also means that even if no other DJ ever plays this song in the UK, it will have achieved almost half a dozen plays on national UK radio.

This is what old Reitho was talking about back in the day, isn’t it.

  • INFORM: Carly Rae Jepsen has recorded 2017’s song of the summer and that song is now available to stream.
  • EDUCATE: This is how you create the perfect pop song, or at least the near-perfect pop song because if we’re all honest the pre-chorus could probably do with a bit of work.
  • ENTERTAIN: This song is entertaining, yes, but actually it also redefines all previously accepted boundaries of entertainment in the sense that on hearing ‘Cut To The Feeling’ it immediately becomes clear that entertainment has no boundaries whatsoever and is in fact totally limitless.

This is definitely in the Top 2 perceived underdog surprise triumphs of the last seven days.

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New Music Friday: Julie Bergan at the top, a Thong Song remix at the bottom, various songs in between https://www.popjustice.com/briefing/new-music-friday-julie-bergan-at-the-top-a-thong-song-remix-at-the-bottom-various-songs-in-between/ Fri, 09 Jun 2017 09:25:30 +0000 https://www.popjustice.com/?p=146124 Plus new stuff from Sia, Susanne Sundfør, Katy Perry and Lorde.

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Song of the week:
Julie Bergan feat Tunji Ige — ‘If You Love Me’
In a week of huge pop releases the best tune of the week comes from Norwegian pop practitioner Julie Bergan. Three years ago we fell in love with Julie’s second single ‘Younger’ (both the radio version, which is like a lost Little Mix Number One, and the Oliver Nelson remix still sound totally brilliant), but she hasn’t topped it UNTIL TODAY.

Wrong of the week:
Ed Sheeran — ‘…Baby One More Time’
We quite like the idea of the Spotify Singles thing — it’s basically their version of Radio 1’s Live Lounge — but this cover is a big no. Realistically the JCY rework of Sisqo’s ‘Thong Song’ is today’s worst release, but it’s not quite as distressing as Ed Sheeran mailing [EDIT: We meant ‘mauling’ but mailing works in the sense that it’s making us go postal, return to sender and/or put a card through his door telling him we’ve left it in his wheelie bin] one of the 250 Wonders Of The Pop Age.

Additional notes:

  • Susanne Sundfør is back!
  • Another week, another new Sia song, but ‘Free Me’ stands out from a lot of her recent releases both musically (it recalls a lot of her earlier stuff) and lyrically (because triumphing in the face of adversity via a series of extended metaphors just isn’t a realistic depiction of how everyone is able to live their lives). The song’s been released in support of #endHIV.
  • Tileyard pop entities Sigala and Ella Eyre have made a song that would have been quite enjoyable between two and three years ago.
  • ‘Roulette’ has bubbled to the top and seems to be the best new song on the Katy Perry album.
  • Careful with the new Pharrell song, the last time he did a song for a Despicable Me soundtrack it sat around for ages before boring everyone to death in a prolonged and relentless period of cynically contrived joy.

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New Music Friday: Rae Morris at the top, Fifth Harmony at the bottom, various songs in between https://www.popjustice.com/briefing/new-music-friday-rae-morris-at-the-top-fifth-harmony-at-the-bottom-various-songs-in-between/ Fri, 02 Jun 2017 06:58:11 +0000 https://www.popjustice.com/?p=146067 Well Rae Morris has pulled it out of the bloody hat with this one hasn't she?

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Song of the week:
Rae Morris — ‘Reborn’
Hot news from the ‘acts you’d assumed had been dropped’ desk: Rae Morris is back, she still has a proper record deal, and her new single is an absolute belter. If you’re no fan of songs that fade at the end, you’re going to love the way this one wraps things up.

Wrong of the week:
Fifth Harmony feat Gucci Mane — ‘Down’
It’s going some for another act to secure Wrong Of The Week when AronChupa and Little Sis Nora have unleashed Llama In My Living Room, but the Fifth Harmony comeback single is an imagination-free disappointment that seems to be the sound of a band and team who simply cannot be fucked, which is confusing because this first post-Camila single should be the point where they prove that can be very fucked indeed. Let’s just pretend Lauren’s song on the Halsey album is the new Fifth Harmony single and move on with our lives.

Additional notes:

  • The MNEK-produced 5 After Midnight single seems to be the start of something good. (It sounds a lot like an MNEK song.)
  • Haiku Hands‘ debut single ‘Not About You’ is a sort of Charli XCX-meets-Kero Kero Bonito affair that opens with the line “I feel like I’m on one, banging on to someone, before it comes undone I’m gonna eat my cake”. That’s how to launch a pop career.
  • Lorde, the young person, has had a nice time going out.
  • After numerous delays THE DUA LIPA ALBUM HAS FINALLY ARRIVED. ‘Bad Together’ is our favourite of the ‘new’ songs. Eight (EIGHT) of this album’s best tracks have already been released as singles or promotional tracks, which creates a slightly unfair first-listen situation in which you go into the album searching for new music and in doing so you have to overlook pretty much an album’s worth of pretty great tunes.
  • The Olly and Louisa single was released to DSPs a few days ago presumably in an attempt to stand out from this week’s other new releases or ‘game the system’ in terms of chart placings. Here’s another way to stand out and do well in the charts: release a good song.

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New Music Friday: Carly Rae Jepsen at the top, no total disasters at the bottom, various collaborations in between https://www.popjustice.com/briefing/new-music-friday-carly-rae-jepsen-at-the-top-no-total-disasters-at-the-bottom-various-collaborations-in-between/ Fri, 26 May 2017 09:03:40 +0000 https://www.popjustice.com/?p=146033 Also: Little Mix and Stormzy! Troye and Martin! Lauren and Halsey! Nick, Anne-Marie and Mike Posner!

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Song of the week:
Carly Rae Jepsen — ‘Cut To The Feeling’
What you need to understand here is that this song was almost on Carly’s b-sides collection. Which means it was also almost on ‘E•MO•TION’. Which means this song has been passed up on twice, before finally finding its home on the soundtrack for a crap film. This beautiful, magnificent song. This song that could and will prompt a thousand summer dancefloor stampedes. This song whose chorus could raise the Titanic from the sea bed. This song bursting with a natural luminescence so intense that it would shine bright in a Vantablack pop dungeon. THIS SONG was cast aside on multiple occasions. We don’t know what Carly Rae So-Called ‘Jepsen’ thinks she’s playing at but if we ever find out there are other songs like this in the  ‘E•MO•TION’ scrapheap we will go absolutely ballistic.

Wrong of the week:
The Little Mix artwork
No total disasters on this week’s playlist, and Little Mix’s worst single for a while is improved by Stormzy turning up, but unspecial mention must go to the ‘Power’ artwork which commits a number of crimes not least of which is the fact that IF YOU’RE GOING TO USE AN ILLUSTRATION FOR YOUR SINGLE ARTWORK THERE’S NO EXCUSE AT ALL FOR NOT INCLUDING THE FEATURED ARTIST, JESUS CHRIST.

Additional notes:

  • This week’s new releases include various artists — including Dagny, Grace Mitchell and Allie X — who at one point looked like they might save the world, and given a couple of lucky breaks still might.
  • The debut release from Robinson, whose new video we showed you yesterday, is very exciting.
  • Noah Cyrus‘ new one feels like her best release to date. Since the release of ‘Malibu’ it also feels, and we presume this was precisely the opposite of The Big Plan, like it could be a Miley Cyrus song.
  • Halsey and Lauren Fifth Harmony‘s big bisexual love song is ‘quite a moment’.
  • The Nick Jonas, Anne-Marie and Mike Posner song is a release best described as ‘unnecessary’.
  • Rita Ora‘s new single is pretty good in a Little Mix album track kind of way.
  • The Troye Sivan and Martin Garrix release would be better with a bit more Troye and a bit less Martin but we’re sure Garro is a lovely man with a fine moral compass who’s kind to his friends and wouldn’t think twice about stepping in to rescue an injured bird.

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Niall Horan isn’t going to sit on your fucking chair https://www.popjustice.com/briefing/niall-horan-isnt-going-to-sit-on-your-fucking-chair/ Thu, 25 May 2017 15:57:58 +0000 https://www.popjustice.com/?p=146016 His new Rolling Stone shoot hints at severe furniturephobia

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The good news is that Billboard magazine sent noted photographer David Needleman to take pictures for their new Niall Horan cover feature.

The bad news from the pictures we’ve been sent is that Needleman, an in-demand photographer with an impressive portfolio, nonetheless failed to capture Niall Horan sitting on anything remotely appropriate for a human arse. Instead the pictures he took tell the story of how this rebel without a chaise will simply not sit on your fucking chair.

As a result we are presented with a series of intimate portraits which, put together, depict a troubled, complex man. A man in crisis.

1. Niall Horan isn’t going to sit on that fucking sofa. Fuck you

He’s wearing his shoes on that nice rug too. The people who rented their home out for the shoot left very clear instructions regarding footwear inside the house. That’ll be an extra $90.

2. Yes Niall Horan is fully aware of the hygiene implications thank you very fucking much but he’s still going to sit on the fucking kitchen counter

Earlier that day it’s reasonable to expect that Niall did a big shit out of his bumhole, but there he is, bold as brass, placing that very bumhole in close proximity to a food preparation area. On the chairs front, it’s clear that he is in a room that surely offers ample seating — possibly even at a ‘breakfast bar’ — but Niall is unhappy with that arrangement. One is inevitably led to wonder if Niall has perhaps suffered at a breakfast bar — perhaps falling off a chair or stool and finding himself attaching a deep sense of shame to all future offers of seating, making him psychologically incapable of proper sitting.

3. Niall Horan is pretty fucking pleased with himself about this non-chair-based seating arrangement and he fucking doesn’t care who knows

What is that, a diving board or one end of a surfboard? Or is it just an ironing board? We’ll tell you what it’s fucking not: a chair.

4. Niall Horan is going to get fucking piles if he stays there too long

This is perhaps the saddest of all the shots. Here we find Niall looking nervously at what one presumes is a sun lounger. He knows a sun lounger is principally used in a lying-down scenario, but he also knows that the sun lounger easily adjusts, allowing the user to sit up. Niall is not going to sit on that fucking sun lounger. But if everyone absolutely guarantees that they won’t adjust it, he might have a fucking lie down. Alright?

READER APPEAL: Have YOU seen Niall Horan avoiding chairs? If so please email us at the usual address, or tweet @popjustice. 

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