Sorry I'm late, I've seen from your tweets that you've been looking forward to me.

I'd have been with you earlier but people at the record label have been arguing about me a lot. Some people thought I was too much like the music on your favourite act's last album. Then some other people thought I wasn't enough like the music on your favourite act's last album. Very confusing!

The thing is, everyone had an idea about what I shouldn't sound like but nobody had any ideas about what I should sound like. Your favourite artist thought they knew at one point, but that all fell apart after a prolonged period of major label gas­light­ing. Your favourite artist's manager had some good ideas but didn't want to rock the boat because your favourite artist is their biggest client and they're trying to leverage your favourite artist's fame to help launch three new artists and a ground­break­ing social app.

I've sounded like lots of different things over the last twelve months. You should have been at the meeting when someone decided I should sound like DJ Snake — that was a fun one. But anyway, I sound really current and vibey. Radio will love me.

Unfortunately your favourite act has worked so hard on me, for so long, that they’ve lost any sense of whether I'm any good or not. All they know is that I'm the first single from their new album. And I’m not very good. I’m not terrible, of course — truly dis­astrous first singles don’t really happen any more, not when there are so many people who have a say in us. Instead, I'm an example of a single that is fine.

So I’m not very good and I’m not very bad. I simply exist. I'm good enough, in the short term at least. In years to come I'll be pin­pointed as a key moment in your favourite artist's com­mer­cial and creative decline. Right now? I'll do. 

There’s no way I could have been your favourite act’s debut single. Had I been, your favourite act would never have become as huge as they are today. But remember: I’m good enough. Good enough to launch a new album. Good enough to justify your favourite artist's next spon­sor­ship deal. There's enough momentum from a few years ago to carry me through. Ears are already open. I benefit from people hoping that I'll be good. I'm going to do this. I'm going to be a hit.

In any case, I'm an excuse for your favourite artist to get on some of the chat shows; for the live per­form­ance your favourite artist's label will throw a lot of money at the staging and I'll seem pretty impress­ive. And your favourite artist is still big enough for radio stations to be inter­ested. Radio stations will still be wanting your favourite artist to perform at their live events, and they'll still want them to promote those appear­ances using their various social channels. That's because, regard­less of how good I am, your favourite artist is still really famous.

But how about you? Do you like me?

I’m not quite what you expected, am I? I don’t sound like you thought I would sound. You probably got confused because of all that talk you heard about the producers working on the album I’m here to promote. Maybe those Instagrams of me in the studio with that producer were a red herring. Remember when one of them sent that tweet talking about the #smash they'd just recorded? Well I’m not the song you thought I'd be. That song doesn’t exist. That song never existed, except in the tan­tal­ising dream­s­cape of social media.

You want to like me. I know that. Well, I mean, you do kind of like me. But you want to like me more than you do. Don’t feel bad about it; I know what I am. I’m not deluded. I don’t want you to be deluded either. You're con­vin­cing yourself that I am “a grower". But it's curious, isn't it — you didn’t feel that way about my pre­de­cessors, did you? You just got those songs imme­di­ately. You didn't have to try. You didn’t have to work at those songs like you're working on me. “This is just a sign that my favourite artist has pro­gressed beyond making obvious music,” you’ll say. “The new song by my favourite artist has a depth that rewards repeat listening."

I'm sorry but the reward for repeat listening is this: not having to face the fact that I am not very good and your favourite artist is on the wane.

You’ll listen to me a lot. Of course you will, I'm the new single by your favourite artist. You might even­tu­ally grow to accept me — I mean, I’m not going away. Eventually you might feel as if you actually, properly like me; three years from now you'll have forgotten the intensity of today's emotions. The sense of betrayal might not be so strong. You’ll forget the dis­ap­point­ment. You’ll bury the memory that your instinct­ive reaction to me was: "This is a dis­ap­point­ment."

But I am not just the new song by your favourite artist. I am a lie. I am the lie you will tell yourself every time you hear me. You won’t ever get away from the lie.

In two years, when your favourite act releases the first single from their next album and it’s even more dis­ap­point­ing than I am, you’ll look fondly on the day we first met. “Great days!” you’ll think. The first single from your favourite act’s next album may actually make me seem like a classic. But I will still be a lie. And you still won’t want to acknow­ledge the trend I started. Your favourite artist is losing. And it all starts with me.

Bye for now!

first single

PS: Video coming in ten days!!!