Notes on this week's new releases:
- Baby Queen continues to be one of the pop sphere's best things: new developments this week involve Pretty Girl Lie having a brilliant middle eight and some Matty Healy dancing in the video. A lot of artists have had a go at this song's subject matter but "I get more likes when I don't look like me" kind of nails it, right?
- The artwork for Shaylen's new release depicts the singer being attacked by butterflies. (The song's great.)
- Bree Runway, whose Damn Daniel would, I think, have won last night's Twenty Quid Music Prize if Dua Lipa's Physical hadn't destroyed everything in its path, releases the Easyfun-produced Little Nokia. All things considered Bree should be approx four times bigger than she is right now but things feel like they are heading in the right direction and in These Uncertain Times that's something to hold onto.
- There's a perky F9 remix of Annie's The Streets Where I Belong, a Being Boring-esque song about Annie's return to her hometown. Being Bergen, IF YOU WILL. The remix is amazing, the original's amazing, the album the original's on is amazing, everything's generally amazing in Annie world.
- Remember Jens, of Any Other Way almost-fame? Tough Love is his new song.
- No new Kygo atrocities this week although I did get a press release containing the words "Tomorrow, Friday 25th, film star Vin Diesel will be releasing his debut dance music song 'Feel Like I Do' on Kygo's Palm Tree Records" and I was too scared to click any of the links in the email so I have no idea if it was a joke or not.
(For some reason the shitting embed hasn't updated with the new playlist and if it hasn't sorted itself out by the time you see this you can click here to open Spotify.)
Congratulations to Dua Lipa, whose single Physical was voted the best British pop single of 2020 tonight by a panel of (virtual) judges. Thanks to everyone who joined in with the voting this year, 2020's been a cavalcade of shit but nights like this make things marginally less terrible.
The twenty quid prize fund will be submitted by Paypal tomorrow morning.
Notes on this week's new releases:
- Seriously though the EHLE single is very brilliant. "I'll stop wearing black when they invent a darker colour" — A LYRIC. There's something slightly Aloudian about the unhingedness of Finders Keepers, EHLE's fourth (fourth!!) excellent single of 2020.
- Gorgon City have released their best single in about a hundred years. Evan Giia has a good voice, right? Nicely done everyone.
- Sir Sly's Material Boy sounds like a lost MGMT track. Quite good.
- Hard to imagine the strange series of events that led to Maja Kristina covering The Pointer Sisters' Slow Hand, although there's a chance it might involve autocomplete and Niall Horan. Anyway: it's an extremely good track.
- Not sure if you noticed Koko's All Together Now earlier this year but it was a bit of a slowburn belter. Anyway they're back today with So Nice To Meet You, which interpolates Public Image Ltd's This Is Not A Love Song.
- Sophie Ellis-Bextor's covered Alcazar's Crying At The Discotheque. It is the best idea for a Sophie Ellis-Bextor cover since she had a go at Propaganda's Duel.
- You will note that the previous three songs each do something new with something old. You may be thinking: "I would like to hear a four new song that is also an old song." Well.
- Kygo's reign of terror continues, with Donna Summer the latest diva to be on the receiving end. Do you remember that amazing Firestone track he did with Conrad Sewell? They were different times weren't they? Simpler times. I didn't ever think I'd be nostalgic for the specific period in my life when Kygo did that amazing Firestone track with Conrad Sewell but here we are. Sometimes we don't really appreciate the beauty of a moment until it'd faded, do we? A lesson for us all there. UPDATE: Actually once you're over the shock this is quite good isn't it?
Notes on this week's new releases:
- OMG What's Happening is, whichever way you look at it, the quintessential 2020 song title. Is Ava Max, who currently stands at 33.5m monthly Spotify listeners, making her the world's 47th biggest act, the quintessential 2020 popstar? That's another conversation for another day. Let's not do it now.
- Daniel Briskin, a very important (and decent) new popstar from north London, has released a new song that starts off as one thing and ends up as another thing. Both those things are good things.
- British chanteuse Blithe, of 'did a big interview with her a while back' fame, returns today with the v sparky If I Ain't The One.
- French singer 1 Marina Kaye releases her sparse and spooky new single Double Life today. As with previous single The Whole 9 (also highly listenable) she made it with David Stewart and Jessica Agombar, two songwriters who've appeared on Popjustice in the past in slightly different roles and are having a bit of a Moment right now, having recently knocked out Dynamite for BTS and that quite good Jonas Brothers single. Marina says this song was partly inspired by the writing session's proximity to the Jack The Ripper museum. (???)
- The new Oz one, Murder, hits a mark somewhere between Lana and Sia, but also sounds like nothing else I heard while scouring hundreds of songs for this week's playlist, and it's really quite brilliant.
- Next time someone on Twitter is wanging on about "where are all the modern protest songs???etc", point them to #freebritney by Holy Spearit.
- Anna Straker's one of the artists I spoke to in that marathon Zoom session during lockdown. Seems a long time ago now, doesn't it? All that madness? Anyway she's got a new track with Gabrielle 'Prior To Them Closing Their Last Branch In 2008 I Used To Buy My Batteries At M' Aplin, and very enjoyable it is too.
- Navvy's The Final Pieces EP is out today and it's not quite all the feels but it's the vast majority of them.
- In 'egregious noughties anthem interpolation' news, hit play on the Sigala and James Arthur song and I guarantee that within one second you'll be screaming "SIGALA AND JAMES ARTHUR WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?" A truly extraordinary piece of music.
That's French for chanteuse↩
Notes on this week's new releases:
- Look, I generally try to keep the New Music Friday playlist pretty short each week because we're all busy people so it is with deep dismay that I must report this week's playlist contains 34 decent songs.
- Griff's one of the better new popstars, isn't she? Say It Again's her best release to date.
- It's a semi-busy week for Babeheaven who release what we used to call a double a‑side single featuring new songs Cassette Beat and Human Nature, both of which are very enjoyable.
- Ava Max has released an Ace Of Base-inspired single, while modern pop's premiere Ace Of Base apologists Clean Bandit have released an unexpected and, frankly, unrequested mashup of Real Love and DARIO G'S SUNCHYME. (I first noticed the mashup in one of the band's live lockdown DJ sets, has it been part of the Bandit 'oeuvre' for a while?)
- Amy Allen, whose songwriting you've already been enjoying via artists like Harry Styles and Halsey, has an acceptably 90s-sounding single out today.
- Bastille's excellent new one is Song 4 on the playlist and when you hear it you may well agree that's two spots too low.
- Curtis Waters isn't messing around is he?
- Brighton-based singer of song Oz has a really impressive EP on its way and the first glimpse of that is out today: its called Money.
- The new Vamps single is good, mind you that was pretty inevitable considering it was produced by Lostboy.
- Seriously there are so many decent songs out this week.
- (Please make some time to listen to the great E^ST album.)
- Yorke released her debut EP in March and it seems she's been using her lockdown wisely: Gravity is a huge leap forward and sounds like Ellie Goulding doing 1989-era Taylor Swift, ie totally ideal.
- SO MANY DECENT SONGS.
It'll take more than a stupid pandemic, an impending global recession and the decimation of music journalism to stand in the way of amazing pop music being recognised. Today Popjustice unveils the twelve shortlisted songs in the 2020 Popjustice Twenty Quid Music Prize. Info on the twelve shortlisted songs, details regarding judging (likely to be even more of a shambles than usual given that it might happen on Zoom) and how to get involved, and playlists for every year since 2003, at www.popjustice.com/twentyquidmusicprize.
Notes on this week's new releases:
- My proposed moratorium on 'tears on the dancefloor'-themed pop songs didn't really pan out very well and the new NOTD and Nina Nesbitt song also references another topic on the Popjustice banned list — wearing your ex's old t‑shirt — but Cry Dancing is a great tune. "It's not my heart that's breaking, it's just these shoes are killing me" — WHAT A LINE.
- ALSO A LINE: "This house is on fire, woo." That's a line you'll find in the new Troye single.
- Jesus bloody Christ the Joan album is shaping up to be a complete monster.
- Resin Moon — real name Dave — has released a really beautiful new single called The Middle. It's his second release of 2020; the other is the Covid-themed 'jam' Shake Your Booty (At An Appropriate Social Distance).
- The Calvin Harris Love Regenerator Experiment comes to fruition today with the Steve Lacy collaboration Live Without Your Love.
- Kygo has Done A Kygo on Tina Turner's What's Love Got To Do With It. It's brilliant but it's also terrible, with an absolutely atrocious and borderline criminal key change, but I'm excited to hear what 2021's big summer Kygo-slash-diva collaboration will be. (Spoiler: it will be Diana Ross.)
- Annie's really incredible new album — produced in its entirety by The Sound Of Arrows' Stefan Storm — continues its rollout this week with The Bomb.
- There is one song on this week's playlist which is extremely good but seems to have been written by someone who's never actually met a member of the opposite sex and may well have based their entire understanding of relationships on what they've heard in pop songs. Not a bad way to go through life 'tbh'.
- Regrettably, Spinnin' have decided to release a cover of Kesha's TiK ToK.
Notes on this week's new releases, carrying on as if everything's normal and as if there haven't been roughly no new posts on the site for about eight years:
- I've been saying for a while that there simply aren't enough popstars called Peter but Wuh Oh is very popstar and very Peter 1 and his new single Softstyle is brilliant in about forty different ways. (One of those ways is that it includes counting, and most songs with counting are at least slightly excellent.)
- Baby Queen, aka possibly the planet's best new pop entity, releases her new single Buzzkill today. She's wearing a party hat in the artwork.
- NAAZ IS BACK.
- AS IT BLITHE.
- The Raye single is a really unusual and strong single. It sort of goes into I Will Survive near the end.
- One individual who's proved time and time again that she knows one end of a pop song from the other is Only You hitmaker Zara Larsson, whose breathy slinkbanger Love Me Land is out today. IT'S A TRANTER AND MICHAELS NUMBER. (Edit: As has been noted, it's also a Jason Gill number.)
- The Amiigo / Frool / Sara Sangfelt single sounds like it's constantly on the verge of bursting into Rhythm Is A Dancer. More songs should do this. Actually: more songs should sound like they're on the verge of bursting into Rhythm Is A Dancer and actually burst into Rhythm Is A Dancer.
- According to Spotify Emilyn, the featured vocalist on a really quite good song called Party Animal, currently boasts zero monthly listeners. Let's see if we can get this into double figures.
- BBC Sound Of 2021 poll shortlisted, 2022 Mercury Music Prize nominated duo Sad Night Dynamite release their first proper single today and it's about four different songs in one — irresistible value for money as we charge toward a global recession.
Peter Ferguson — that's his full name↩
Fanny Andersen made some waves a few years ago with a song called Kids then went relatively quiet for a couple of years, but her new release Wake Up is a really huge comeback single.
I spoke to Fanny on Zoom yesterday to find out what's been going on in her life, because the lyrics of Wake Up suggest the answer to that is 'quite a lot'. She said that she wrote the song during dark times; when the line "head's in a limbo" came to her she didn't know exactly what limbo meant, but after Googling it she realised it made total sense in terms of how she felt at that moment: somewhere between being alive and, well, not. An overwhelming sense of nothingness.
Fanny added that she wanted the song to sound upbeat because she knows most people don't listen to lyrics properly and she didn't want her friends to hear it and immediately phone her asking what was wrong. Which feeds into the "lying if I said I was fine" line — at the time Fanny was doing a lot of that, going out and getting smashed all the time ("not recommended") before she eventually confronted what was happening, stopped running from herself, "saw a shrink" and got back on top of things.
There's an EP on its way; three tracks are in place with a fourth TBC, although she's written hundreds of songs so there's no shortage of options. If you're wondering why the Zoom chat has resulted in about one (1) direct quote that's because the conversation didn't record properly and I will be taking no further questions on the matter at this time.
Notes on this week's other new releases:
- Camden Cox's new one is a massive raveathon that goes off precisely when you want it to and to the precise degree that you need it to.
- The Shellback-produced Jonas Brothers / Karol G single is a nailed-on summer smash.
- The best song on the Charli XCX lockdown album is Enemy and that's the end of the matter.
- HURTS RETURN today with Voices. The world's always better with new Hurts in it. (Also they've done some excellent social media teasing over the last week of so.)
- Loryn released a couple of great singles last year and her first of 2020, No Lines, is pretty brilliant too.
- The worst single of the week is the Alok remix of a Rolling Stones song (??) called Ghost Town. To be honest the mix is actually quite good but it is VERY TikTok-friendly and 2020's been bad enough already without The Rolling Stones going viral on TikTok.
- (If you really must insist on listening to music by people over the age of 35, give the new Sparks one a spin.)