Mostly Pop May 2016

Been a while, eh?

Jason Derulo
If It Ain’t Love

Who is singing? Can’t be Jason Derulo as no one says “Derulo” at the start of the song… Ahh, it comes up on the screen. Phew. Ok.

So, a scant couple of months since his last single,  Unstoppable Fuck Monster Jason Derulo is back with another song about just doing it and that. I mean, I know all pop is essentially pretty tunes about fucking but Jason Derulo really does seem to produce almost exclusively songs about dirty, sweaty shagging. Aww,  but he thinks maybe he is in love with you this time –  and it’s always YOU, babe. He’s giving it to you. Yeah. This is, obviously, no Want to Want Me but clearly he’s in his stride now and this is still big and swaggering and heartfelt and smoochy.

Let’s talk about the video, though. It’s good to watch a one-on-one dance routine (Even if it is a little like The Routine from Friends) and it’s a helluva Strictly audition,  isn’t it? He holds his own with a professional dancer,  too. ALSO I’ve long held that Jason is the heir apparent to Lionel Ritchie and it seemed like he was listening when his Get Ugly video appeared to be filmed on the same naff set as the All Night Long video. And in this video HE DANCES ON THE CEILING. Jase, buddy. Next video needs a massive clay Jason Derulo head. Just do it.

Meghan Trainor
Me Too

So now we know where all the songs that Britney would normally be singing have ended up in her temporary absence. She’s even singing in a silly accent. Is there a voice coach somewhere in LA who talks like Officer Crabtree from Allo Allo? Anyway, as I say, this is the sort of song you wouldn’t be surprised to see “Will.I.Am” in the credits for, isn’t it?

Just quickly – “What’s that icy thing, hanging round my neck? That’s gold.” No, Meg. That’s… That’s not how slang works.

It’s unkind of me to say it but there’s something a bit CONGRATULATIONS, CONTEST WINNER about Meghan Trainor in her videos. There’s something behind her eyes that says “I’m not supposed to be here!” that you don’t see with, well, let’s say Britney Spears. Maybe it’s a human soul? Dunno.

She’s a complicated problem for pop. Clearly she had novelty value to begin with – not just because she looked like she did, but she had her own sound. Then she started losing weight like crazy at which point they started covering her up in videos, suggesting they didn’t mean all that body shaming, Meghan honest, come back to size. Then she started doing regular pop bangers and lost the distinctive sound of her first album. This leaves her voice as the one constant and that’s… Passable,  but nothing notable. So, really it comes down to what exactly is Meghan Trainor for?

Panic! At the Disco
Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time

Panic! At the Disco are back and they’re like totes different now!
Or, to put it another way, they sound exactly like they used to but the singer has stopped dressing like the bathoom attendant at Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club.

A big chanty chorus and twangy surf guitar just about carry this over the line for “acceptable indie disco stomp” (do such things exist still? I have no idea), but it really does sound like something Fall Out Boy would have done ten years ago. I don’t hate it.

The video outclasses the song quite comfortably – it starts like Smack My Bitch Up for people who are eagerly anticipating Jared Leto’s take on The Joker, but takes a strange turn near the end into something quite different… Although it is essentially the plot of an early X-Files episode.


Oof, this is brutal. It feels like the kind of all-talk-no-fists fight you might encounter at a bus station late at night, all bathos-laden disses like “My mum don’t know your mum” and “Dressed like I just come from PE, you’re dressed like you just come from church”. Whoever is up against Skepta is taken out at the knees, frankly. I’d hate to be them, oh boy yes (I Googled, by the way. It’s Dizzee).

The backing track lopes and loops around while this spectacular verbal beating is being handed out, the kind of scrubby darkness Azealia Banks apparently hates DESPITE IT OBVIOUSLY BEING A MASSIVE INFLUENCE ON HER SOUND yes just sticking some topical shit in here.

Video isn’t much – switch on Channel AKA at random and you’ll see something like it,  although the car destruction at the end would definitely make me think twice before hiring Skepta to organise a wedding. Just “JUST MARRIED” on the back window and some cans tied to the bumper, please Mr Skepta.

Like I Would

Shouldn’t a song that starts “Hey what’s up its been a while” have been the first solo single? ZAYN, YOU PRANNOCK. Fire your publisher. Anyway, I wasn’t convinced by Pillowtalk but this is miles better than any 1D single (and I should know, I think I accidentally reviewed like 99% of them). It’s AT LEAST AS GOOD AS CHERYL’S FIRST SINGLE.

“This is probably going to sound wrong, I promise it won’t take long” – I think this song is about having a crywank about your ex. “He don’t do you right” Oh mate, I’m sorry you’re so bitter about this. “I saw your face and got inspired” is deffo someone stalking an ex’s Instagram. Careful you don’t clench and accidentally favourite the pics, Zayn!

Hey look, Azealia Banks is back in this week’s Mostly Pop! Apparently Zayn stole this video from her or something (because the artist DEFINITELY designs, storyboards and lights their video). I think she is probably right in that someone recycled an idea for someone who isn’t a lost cause these days, but to start racially abusing the singer for that (and INSULTING BRITISH SANDWICHES) is a bit off. Especially as the video concept is basically “Tron interrupts a Jean Michel Jarre concert”.

Burn the Witch

Clearly this is all about the video, right? Everyone lost their shit over it a week or so ago (er pretend this works as a line in a reviews column and doesn’t expose me as hopelessly behind the curve). There’s no denying it is brilliantly, uh, executed and ever-so-slightly unnerving at moments (the bakery stall is excellent). In common with Zayn, there are complaints of intellectual property theft BUT Mostly Pop’s showbiz lawyer says it’s covered by parody exceptions so that’s fine. Not very funny though, is it? Beyond the obvious “Camberwicker Man” gag.

Perhaps the video is too good, because the song just becomes a menacing drone underneath it, which was surely the intention but does rather undersell it. In isolation, it’s menacing as fuck and somewhat unlovely but nothing like as unlistenable as most of Radiohead’s post-The Bends work. Johnny Greenwood’s film experience is all over it, with the urgent strings and thrumming bass. Thom Yorke’s vocals seem almost out of place.

Coming Home

You guys. I don’t care that this isn’t much fun – BUSTED ARE BACK. You’re frankly quite lucky this whole column isn’t just Busted fanfic, tbqhwy. So good to see James Bourne, Matt Willis and Charlie off of Busted back together. They’re pretty much why I write this, so this is… Lovely to see.

Don’t fuck this up, boys. Don’t become Take That.

About Thom Willis

Thom is the curator of #microwrites - - and writes his own stories for He lives in London because, given the choice, who wouldn't?

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