Dancer. Professor. Head of state. Whore. Spy. Traffic warden. Alpaca whisperer. Plumber.
Madonna returns today with Medellin which, what with it being the first single from Madame X, means it's time for each and every one of us to fire up the spreadsheets and reconsider our Best Madonna Lead Singles charts. Usual rules apply: studio albums only, don't get sidetracked by whether or not a song was The Right Choice As Lead Single, etc etc etc.
Actually, close Excel — you don't need to bother with yours because the only one that's based on Actual Fact is the one that looks like this:
- Like A Prayer (Like A Prayer)
- Hung Up (Confessions On A Dance Floor)
- Frozen (Ray Of Light)
- Live To Tell (True Blue)
- Music (Music)
- Like A Virgin (Like A Virgin)
- Erotica (Erotica)
- American Life (American Life)
- Medellin (Madame X)
- Secret (Bedtime Stories)
- Living For Love (Rebel Heart)
- Everybody (Madonna)
- 4 Minutes (Hard Candy)
- Give Me All Your Luvin (MDNA)
Thank you for your time. Meet you back here in three years?
The Song Of The Week is Midnight Feelings by Mark Ronson and Lykke Li.
When you factor in the blissful sadbangerdom of Nothing Breaks Like A Heart and now the emodisco flourishes of this perkily bleak second single, Mark Ronson's forthcoming album is already a miserablist masterpiece. "On and on and on, feeling on and on. On and on, on and on." That's what it's like isn't it? THAT'S WHAT IT'S LIKE.
- The Ellie Goulding single, like most of the best Ellie Goulding singles, is totally pensive. Includes the lyric "we held on with the best intent / Just two kids who kicked it on MSN", which is one of those great pop lyrics that sounds v bad on first listen and v good with each subsequent listen.
- The Hey Violet single meanders. Oh God, it meanders like an absolute fucker. It takes one minute and eleven seconds to get to the point. But when it gets there: good point, well made.
- Crew Of Me&You made a Popjustice Edit appearance a few weeks ago with Come Out And Play ("we could dance in the rain, fuck each other's brains out") and they release a full EP, Home Free, today. Readers still with this blog from what Instagram user dogatdisco refers to as its imperial phase will be interested to 'note' that Crew Of Me&You are two members of The Sounds, a band Popjustice banged on about quite a lot back in the day. (Tony The Beat = still a corker.)
- Do you know what, this Peking Duk single is something very special indeed. No idea who Al Wright is but for the time being he can sit in Ludicrous Pop Name Corner with Syn Cole.
- "Net proceeds" from the new Avicii material, completed following his death, will go to the Tim Bergling Foundation, a non-profit whose aims include preventing mental illness and suicide.
A few years ago, after Beyoncé did the first big surprise album drop thing and changed pop forever and everyone started talking about which artists were going to Do A Beyoncé, Popjustice went into some detail regarding what did and didn't constitute a 'beyoncé', where Beyoncé's name became both a verb ("they've beyoncéd their new album") and a noun ("this release is a definite beyoncé").
Most albums cited as beyoncés were partial beyoncés at best, but Marina chucking out the Love part of Love + Fear feels like it should count as a semi-beyoncé.
That said, Popjustice's original article did make other stipulations. It said that the release should, for instance, be a surprise. And Marina releasing new music is not a surprise, really, is it, considering half of this Love release is already available and everyone knew the Love + Fear album was on its way. So with heavy heart we must perhaps accept that Love's release falls into quarter-beyoncé territory.
(The best song is To Be Human.)
(I mentioned this on Twitter and two people immediately replied saying the best song is actually Enjoy Your Life. Much as I appreciate the engagement I must insist in the strongest possible terms that I was, in fact, right with my initial statement.)
Not a bad start for the new BLACKPINK video. I suppose something would have to go very wrong indeed for a new BLACKPINK video not to explode immediately, considering they're a) fairly popular and b) have form when it comes to watchworthy videos.
This is such a great image:
The only bad thing about March 29 not, after all, being the day the UK throws itself down the toilet is that Brexit doesn't now coincide with the launch of Europa, a collaboramic superduo comprising Jax 'Jaxit Means Jaxit' Jones, who is from London, and noted Frenchperson Martin Solveig.
It could all have been so perfect. It's still pretty good, though — Europa's opening shot is this Madison Beer-vocaled rave beast.
It's interesting to see streaming-driven feat fetishism evolve into the rise of semi-permanent pop bands. Side-projects like Labrinth, Sia and Diplo's LSD, Diplo and Mark Ronson's Silk City, and now Europa, don't really feel like side-projects at all. At some point a switch flicks in your head and you forget they're supergroups. They feel like actual things. How exciting, too, that so much of the output is so good.
It's ideal really. The Way Things Are Now (we're less confused by people having numerous songs out at the same time, we don't require clear blue water between releases, the entire world of pop is total chaos and nobody seems to mind) means that everyone involved in these projects is able to release their own stuff in parallel, as we've seen with the complication-free overlap between Mark Ronson's album launch and Silk City's success. These projects sometimes feel so separate that it's as if a popstar could just chuck on an unconvincing false moustache, start releasing new music under a new name, and nobody would bat an eyelid. We know it's them, but we're prepared to suspend disbelief.
Most excitingly, what this also means is that each artist is able to express parts of their creativity that might otherwise have been boxed-off or consigned to hard drive oblivion, never heard by anyone outside the studio. Anyone who works in or around this world knows that often it's the most 'pop' stuff that never gets released or even finished — it's hard to imagine Electricity ever finding a natural home on a formal Mark Ronson album, or a formal Diplo album, for example. Just as it's hard to imagine All Day And Night making sense as Jax Jones feat Martin Solveig, or as Martin Solveig feat Jax Jones, or as a straightforward Madison Beer release.
Intentionally or not, all artists eventually develop brands that mean certain things aren't 'allowed' and become 'off-limits', but mergepop outfits 1 present the opportunity for clean slates and broader horizons, with no damage to any artist's core proposition. It's the rare pop artist who doesn't feel constrained by their own career, but these groups provide a glimpse of complete freedom. At the very least, creating a new pop entity means you can commission a new logo, and any popstar who passes up an opportunity to get a new logo designed isn't in this for the right reasons.
Mergepop doesn't really work does it? Mergepop definitely won't become A Thing.↩
Yes I've already done it as Song Of The Week in the New Music Friday post but you have 100% got another thing coming if you think I'm not going to give About Work The Dancefloor a second post in its own right. What a song.
Georgia's going on a UK tour next month, shall we go? Shall we all go together? Shall I hire a minibus and pick everyone up? A spot of dinner in a reasonably-priced 'eaterie' before the show, perhaps? No idea who's supporting, we can probably leave the restaurant at quarter to nine and not miss anything. Who's in?
The Song Of The Week is About Work The Dancefloor by Georgia.
Georgia's 2018 single Started Out was a slowburn stormer that eventually found its way into the Radio 1 playlist; Work The Dancefloor somehow ramps up both the pop and the art at the same time. There's something extremely satisfying about the way one of British pop's best emerging artists is coming out through Domino Records, a label more commonly associated with rather less Popjustice-friendly music. Perhaps the most sensible way for pop as a whole to navigate its way out the current DSP-pleasing algopop cul-de-sac is for more leftfield labels to give the old pop thing a whirl.
- Becky Hill, the popstar we need in an uncertain world, knocks it out of the park with I Could Get Used To This, the park in question being one that contains a massive commemorative fountain/statue arrangement paying tribute to the almighty happysad pop power of the one and only Rebecca Claire Hill.
- Welcome back, somewhat unexpectedly, to The Veronicas. Pulsing electro wobbler Think Of Me is 8000 times better than any Veronicas single has any right to be in 2019. (This is also a good time to mention that the band's 2005 song 4Ever remains one of the Top 15 Max Martin songs in the entire history of Max Martin.)
- Europa — the new collaborative ravepop extravaganza from Jax Jones and Martin Solveig — launches this week with All Day And Night. Madison Beer, who really feels like the's on the verge of doing something quite extraordinary in her own right, joins on vocals.
- The Dog Blood / Skrillex / Boys Noize single sounds like being punched in the face feels, in a good way.
- The Westlife single sound like being punched in the face feels, in a bad way.