Hello to you,
You’ll see I’ve put an emoji in the subject line of this email, like I’m a challenger bank or something. It’s a prize for the people who have done well in this year’s Popjustice poll. Here it is again: 🏆.
As we wave goodbye to one year and say hello to another, it is customary to present a ‘year in review’, and here is mine:
January — 6/10
February — 7/10
March — 8/10
April — 5/10
May — 5/10
June — 9/10
July — 8/10
August — 7/10
September — 8/10
October — 8/10
November — 8/10
December — 9/10
I will take no further questions.
Anyway, thanks to everyone who voted in this year’s Popjustice Readers’ Poll Awards; the results are below and make for some reading. Sometimes interesting reading, othertimes not so much.
See you soon and ‘all the best’ for 2023!
Single of the year
1. Break My Soul by Beyoncé
2. As It Was by Harry Styles
3. This Hell by Rina Sawayama
Album of the year
1. Renaissance by Beyoncé
2. Midnights by Taylor Swift
3. Dirt Femme by Tove Lo
Classic dancefloor banger Beyoncé should have done instead of I Feel Love
1. You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)
3. Bad Girls
I should have predicted that the third category would collapse into loads of people just naming their favourite danceable songs but the three listed above did eventually emerge as the most popular options. Sidenote: I would like to thank almost everyone who voted for the top choice and when doing so respected the title’s parenthesis.
1. Charli XCX
3. Harry Styles
An encouraging sign that we as a community are able to accept the fact that sometimes the best popstars don’t make the best music. Is this what civilised society looks like? Perhaps. (Although Charli did get a lot of votes in the music categories too, and Beyoncé is quite literally above average when it comes to the whole being-a-popstar thing, so I’m not sure if this really proves whatever point it is I’m trying to make.)
Video of the year
1. No One Dies From Love by Tove Lo
2. This Hell by Rina Sawayama
3. Used To Know Me by Charli XCX
Good choice for Number One here, a top video for a top song. Also, we hear a lot about the financial struggles facing musicians in the streaming age so it is good to know Tove Lo can afford two robots. Unless the second one was a gift? Either way she’s doing well for herself, look at the height of those ceilings.
This pop entity does good pop concerts
2. Dua Lipa
Pop entity (NOT QUEEN) who should be next to 'do an ABBA Voyage'
3. Spice Girls
There was a great quote about ABBA Voyage from a fan in, I think, the New York Times, and basically it was straight after the first performance and the fan said something like: “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’m going again tomorrow.” I’m still not sure if Voyage broke my brain or fixed it and I’m also not sure if or when I should see it a second time — I like the idea that you can be in London at a loose end and just pop in and watch an ABBA concert on a whim, but if a second viewing isn’t quite as spectacular as the first, where does that leave you? It leaves you absolutely fucked, doesn’t it. Fucked, and on some wasteland near Stratford. On the topic of who should Do A Voyage next, various versions of Madonna cycling through her greatest hits would be ideal and can start off with Madonna getting herself ‘scanned in’ by the ABBA team so that when they launch ABBA Voyage internationally and need to put in a few setlist surprises, she can join them on stage for a Gimme Gimme Gimme/Hung Up moment. My own feelings on this, if anyone cares, are that the other acts (NOT QUEEN) who could best pull this off are One Direction and Daft Punk.
Dance act or producer most likely to turn in a version of the White Lotus theme towards the end of January, nine weeks too late
1. Joel Corry
2. David Guetta
It’s only a couple of weeks since I posed this question and it already feels far too late. The only way to make this work at the end of January would be for someone — and I think this idea sounds more Guetta than Corry — to rope in Jennifer Coolidge for a full-on vocal version. Mind you if it was Corry it could be billed as J.Co vs J.Co, which would be very pleasing.
Best new act to properly get going in 2022
1. Rina Sawayama
2. Confidence Man
3. Ethel Cain
Newish act most likely to save pop in 2023
2. Ava Max
3. Caroline Polachek
Established act most likely to save pop in 2023
1. Dua Lipa
3. Zara Larsson
These three categories are a semi-shambles, mainly down to me not giving any guidance on what counts as a new act, a newish act, and an established act. Although I didn’t really need to state the differences in previous Popjustice polls. The line between new, newish and established is quite blurred as we enter 2023, isn’t it? Wouldn’t mind reading 1800w on this. Definitely wouldn’t want to write it though! Sounds like hard work. You’d spend half your time trying to get Zane Lowe on the phone. No thanks!
Producer of the year
1. Fred again…
2. SG Lewis
3. Stuart Price
Three solid choices and it’s worth adding here that these three gentlemen each have very tidy haircuts.
Podcast most worth listening to
1. Switched On Pop
2. Off Menu
3. Who? Weekly
Literally just a list of three podcasts you’ve already heard of.
Best overall marketing campaign for a pop thing regardless of how good the pop thing actually is
1. Rihannabowl announcement
2. Swift / Midnights
3. Capaldi / Wham! video
Rihanna released new music in 2022 and we all tried really hard to be excited about it, but what really did the trick was a picture of a ball. Not even a round one! Does one photograph count as a marketing campaign? It does now!
Least controversial popstar
1. Sam Ryder
2. Carly Rae Jepsen
3. Ed Sheeran
I'd trust this popstar not to touch my thermostat
1. Carly Rae Jepsen
2. Sam Ryder
3. Kylie Minogue
There’s a suggestion here that while Ed Sheeran might steer clear of public controversy, in private he is a different person. In private, these votes suggest, he may touch a stranger’s thermostat. And if he does that in private, what else does he get up to? The mind boggles. These votes clearly indicate that there is a dark side to Ed Sheeran. A side we don’t see, and that perhaps even Ed himself is not aware of.
Thanks for reading Popjustice! Subscribe if you’re not already, each time I get a subscribe notification I feel fleetingly happy.
Act we should send to Eurovision in 2023, a poll category that has taken on a new meaning now there's some sense that it might be possible to actually win
1. Charli XCX
2. Rina Sawayama
‘Historically’ people have generally voted for Steps in this category but the selection of Charli XCX as a potential entrant echoes strong optimism that someone Doing Quite Well For Themselves might think about taking part. The key question with XCX is whether she’d present the planet with a proper song or just the sound of someone chucking a toaster at a wall for three minutes, but that’s the sort of excitement, peril and jeopardy you get when you’re dealing with the year’s best popstar (see above).
I miss this thing or person
Your most-missed thing or person is Sarah Harding.
Sarah’s Girls Aloud bandmates have done various fundraising things this year in Sarah’s memory, for charities like The Christie Charitable Trust and Cancer Research UK. If you’d like to make a donation, you can do that here.
Social media incident of the year
2. Don’t Worry Darlingate
3. Adam Levingate
Popstar who should replace Elon Musk as person in charge of Twitter
2. Lil Nas X
3. Self Esteem
Did anyone actually Dramatically Quit Twitter in the end? People still seem to be knocking around on there. My rule on this is that there are five individuals I’m keeping an eye on and once the fifth of them has gone, ravens-at-the-Tower-of-London-style, I’m off too. If feel like everyone should have their own set of Twitter Ravens. Anyway, if nothing else we have Elon to thank for me going berserk one Friday morning and deciding to start this Substack, so cheers for that Elon. That said, how good really is this Substack?
Substack Of The Millennium
Thank you so much! You’re all so very kind. I really was not expecting this, etc etc.
There was minor outrage (I was absolutely fuming) when counting the votes in this category as several voters broke ranks and instead opted for The Chatner, Service95 (NOT A SUBSTACK), White Noise by Terri White, Roland Barfs Film Diary, Hung Up by Hunter Harris, and Oliver Burkeman’s Imperfectionist. Some of these voters added little comments to their votes, saying things like “sorry!” and “but Popjustice is second best!”. Too little too late, my friends.
Nonetheless, Popjustice has now been voted SUBSTACK OF THE MILLENNIUM and don’t you think I’ll let anyone forget it. Also, did you see that I snuck the word ‘awards’ into the subject line of this email? I did that purely so I could say the Popjustice Substack is award-winning.
2023 is going to be a big year for this Substack, I can already feel it. Or maybe I’ll throw a strop and bin it off in Feb! Who can say. But for the time being, thanks for being here for the closing months of 2022.
THANK you Peter for your comeback! Cannot begin to tell you how much you’ve been missed!!!
Core fans of your wit, enthusiasm and support of pop *justice!* brings reassurance to my most beloved genre!
What's with the top 3 everywhere? Did only four people vote?