Welcome to Popjustice's letters page, a returning thing which sidesteps social media and the myriad ways in which it is possible for websites to communicate with their readers, and forces the whole feedback thing into a regimented and tightly-formatted semi-regular feature.
Popjustice editor Peter Robinson — that's me — is ready to receive. Let's see what's arrived in the Popjustice inbox this time round (and if you'd like to send a letter of your own, details are at the bottom of this post and the best letters receive a leftover badge from the last time we did a letters page).
Queen of follicular manipulation
Rumour has it (after appearing at Brighton Pride) that Carly Rae 'Jeppo' currently has a pixie crop style haircut. I wanted to know what you thought about her current hairstyle. Basically is it an acceptable pop star haircut or do we think she should grow back the long luscious locks before we can accept her as the mega popstar we all know she is ?
Yours thankfully (in anticipation of you clearing this matter up promptly)
Paul I am so glad you asked (though let me begin by noting that Popjustice, unlike Jeppo, has a lowercase 'j'). The 2006 me would have said that Carly Rae Jepsen's follicular timeline should represent a journey of continuous discovery, experimentation and joy. And Jeppo would certainly appear to be open to this idea, and her recent Danny L Harle video even shows a willingness to investigate wigs. However the 2016 me regrets to inform you that any discussion of these matters between you and I amounts to little more than misogynistic hairsplaining and that what 'is' and 'is not' acceptable is nobody's business but Jeppo's. I am sorry Paul but that's just the way things are.
Important Sugababes/javelin query
The percentage of waking hours I fritter away wondering about the status of pop's most almighty Ship Of Theseus, Sugababes, has dwindled over the past year. My anticipation for the MKS album still hums away inside — perhaps in vain? — but with the Olympics having recently been televised my thoughts turn to The Other Three.
We all know that Heidi was competent on Dancing On Ice, Jade was absolutely rubbish on Splash! and Amelle did pretty well on whatever Tumble was. But, even if it was not being broadcast on terrestrial Saturday night television, who do you feel would be most likely to 'medal' for Team GB in track and field's gruelling stick-chuck contest, the javelin throw?
This has been on my mind too, Thomas, and after a fortnight's consideration I can only conclude that while all three Sugababes are familiar with the concept of chucking something into the unknown and hoping for the best, the member best suited to the javelin toss would be Heidi Range, as success in this area requires the javelin to achieve both height and range. I attempted to pull off a joke involving 'massive prick' and 'Dave Berry' but I'm afraid I couldn't quite get it to work. I'm sorry. (NB: The best Sugababes lineup to join for a relay race would be Heidi, Keisha and Mutya because if you're ready they'll pass the baton and let you go.)
Trolling in the deep
Do you enjoy winding non-regular readers up? Frequenters of PJ are used to the sideways style of writing by this point, but something I love to do is scroll to comments to see people overreact to playful banter about their favs.
Jamestown replies to the Ariana Grande remix of Into You post: "unlistenable? who's the dope that wrote this article, yo?"
My favourite song of all time is Groove is in The Heart, what's yours? How's the weather where you are? Does the toilet flush clockwise there? Why do you think CRJ just gets it?
I suppose one option would be to make sure everything makes complete sense to people who don't read Popjustice, or people who are terminally stupid. That doesn't sound much fun. It's a bit like pop music isn't it? Most of the time, people who attempt to appeal to everyone and hit a real lowest common denominator audience end up releasing total nonsense. Like, you'd rather be Robyn than Shawn Mendes, wouldn't you? Also: 'Groove Is In The Heart' is terrible, my favourite song of all time (today) is Nicki Minaj's 'Pound The Alarm', the weather is alright but that depends on whether you like hot weather (I tend to view it as inconvenient), I don't have a toilet or any need for one, and CRJ just gets it because the internet says she does.
Reports of pop's death have been greatly exaggerated
Last year, Bradley Stern wrote a piece about how dull pop music has become these days, and how it discouraged him from going on with MuuMuse. And now YOU wrote a piece about how dull pop music etc. So my question is: are pop bloggers losing faith?
Bye for now!
Bradley's blog was excellent, and as you can see from MuuMuse and his work on Popcrush, he fortunately didn't end up binning the whole thing off after all. My own piece was more about my frustration with big artists and the various stupid decisions that lead them to release crap first singles, then the feeling we all have from time to time when we try to convince ourselves that we like songs more than we do. Re the main question in your letter, the thing is, even if big pop acts release duff music, there are new pop acts coming along all the time. And there will always be new pop acts. In a way, much as I'd love her to have executed a flawless album campaign, it doesn't matter that the first Britney single was semi-ropey, because listening through new album tracks by people like Tove Lo and Zara Larsson it's obvious that there's still brilliant pop being made, and great popstars to get excited about. I suppose it all depends how you subconsciously prioritise music and popstars. Do you prefer music, and the people who make it? Or popstars, and the music they make? I only started thinking about this recently but I tend to be music first, artist second, and then if an artist ends up releasing more than a handful of decent songs the priority sometimes shifts, but there's too much good music around to get hung up on artists who don't deliver.
It recently occurred to me to check on the Visitor SoundCloud page. Yes, Visitor of "Los Feeling" and "RNB" fame, from what feels like a bygone pop era. After all, one of my greatest heartbreaks in all of pop is that the trail of space dust leading to the full-length debut Visitor album seems to have vanished long, long ago.
Well. On the aforementioned SoundCloud, I found a more-than-just-slightly-listenable track (evidently "posted" a mere two months ago) entitled "03 We Leave Tonight."
Furthermore, it occurred to me to ask you at Popjustice if you had heard it, if you had found it listenable, and if you knew anything at all about the goings-on (or lack thereof) with regard to this electronic "outfit".
Signs of life? Or, should I just move on with my life at this point?
Well I've now listened to the song and it's quite enjoyable isn't it? I went for a nice drink with Visitor once. Funny how the pop gods decide that some acts will make it while others won't. Well, not very funny for Visitor I imagine, but either way it's good to hear a new song (if indeed it is a new song and not just something they found on an old hard drive).
Leftover badge winner: CAN WE ALL JUST PAUSE TO REMEMBER A GOOD LA ROUX SONG PLEASE
La Roux's Trouble in Paradise is a brilliant album, especially its fifth track, the indomitable "Sexotheque." Its chorus, "He never answers the phone / Oh, I'll bet money, money, money, I bet / He's at the sexotheque" is catchy enough that it would end mankind if it were a nasty bacterial infection.
Yet it has passed through culture with minor impact. Would it be appropriate for a pop vanguard to elevate this song to a more deserving status? Would coercive means be justified? This cause is the nearest thing I can imagine "pop justice" looking like.
I envision a pop landscape with Sexotheque at its centre, and I drift further and further into this image.
Jake, thanks for reminding me to listen to that album. I think 'Sexotheque' will have its moment, perhaps many years from now when you and I are both dead. Please be aware that before this can happen it's important that 'Uptight Downtown' somehow gets to Number One. I predict this will happen in 2025.
Thanks for being an excellent source of information for all things pop music. I've been following you for years and I'm quite happy you're not showing signs of slowing things down.
But I thought I should confess something: I have no idea what's the PJ Almighty actually is. I've never really understood what's this list for. I assume it's a list of acts you like at a specific point in time, but I must say I'm sometimes not quite sure what such or such singer is on that list. A few years ago Sophie Ellis-Bextor was on there and then she disappeared from the list, and I'm not really sure why, as she's probably the alpha and omega of pop music.
So can you explain what's the PJ almighty 'ethos'? Your explanation might bring my knowledge of pop music to unexpected heights, and that would surely be a nice thing.
I hope to hear from you soon,
The PJ Almighty has lived in the Popjustice sidebar for so long that I barely remember the original point, and yes I should update it more often, but as it currently stands it's five good people (or things) and one terrible person (or thing). They're numbered one to five, then 666 for the terrible entry, 666 being the number of the beast, ie evil. I usually also try to style the 666 so that it's brown: the internationally recognised colour of shit. Originally it was meant to be a bit like those barometer things all magazines used to have — they each had their own not-very-original spins on the same idea, but it was a general best-to-worst, hot-to-not kind of idea that would usually be in the front section of a magazine. Fortunately I've long since abandoned any desire to replicate print mag ideas on Popjustice. Thanks for writing in to the letters page!
If you'd like to write Popjustice a letter it's extraordinarily simple — just drop a line to [email protected] using your favourite email application. The whole thing's explained in unnecessary detail here. Best letter writers get a nice badge, mainly because we've got a load left over from the last time we did a letters page.