It’s the V Festival this weekend!
In anticipation we’ve put together a 47 minute playlist of artists you should see while you’re there.
All debate is welcomed – do you agree with our suggestions?
1) Sorry - Justin Bieber
A decidedly controversial opening track, just how we like them.
The Bieb’s PR agency must be minted nowadays – they’ve managed to change his image from petulant and unruly teenager to a sensitive sweetheart, pumping out pop bangers that even the most Shoreditch hipsters can get behind.
Sorry was the first song to fit this bill, but the wobbly Where Are Ü Now probably takes the cake: it’s a collaboration with Jack Ü (Skrillex and Diplo’s joint venture: a who’s-who of the 2016 music scene).
2) Elastic Heart - Sia
Sia has a complex relationship with fame, opting to perform with her back to the crowd or wearing a huge wig that covers her face. The effect is alluring and forces you to pay attention to her perfectly crafted pop songs.
While it was tempting to put Chandelier in this playlist, Elastic Heart made the cut. Mainly on the grounds of the music video, which sees American reality dance TV star Maddie Ziegler dance with Shia LeBouf in one of the most compelling videos this year.
WATCH IT HERE.
3) Sing to the Moon - Laura Mvula
Laura’s voice is incredible, and her songs are beautiful.
She’s racking up impressive collaborations too. Sing to the Moon has been recorded with jazz fusion legends Snarky Puppy, and the world famous Metropole Orkest in the last two years. The original and the re-imaginings are both beautiful, and demonstrate an artist confident in her work and capable of performing in varied settings.
4) Never Ever – All Saints
Initially unsuccessful, All Saints went onto surprise everyone when they released the third best-selling girl group album of all time in 1997.
They have since disbanded and reformed a couple of times: this festival slot is a warm-up for their first headline tour in 15 years, which begins in October. They’ve promised to play all of their hits as well as new material, so it should be a fantastic show!
We resisted temptation to include their cover of Under the Bridge – it’s great but not energetic enough for this playlist.
5) Don’t Stop the Music - Rihanna
Where do you start with a legend like Rihanna? Her back catalogue is full of pop bangers, all of which deserve a spot on a playlist.
We eventually settled on this track that, in polite terms, requests the music not be stopped just yet – a feeling that chimes nicely with the festival atmosphere.
The music won’t stop yet, don’t worry.
6) Bizzle Bizzle – Lethal Bizzle
Being in a crowd of people leaping around and yelling “what’s my name now BIZZLE BIZZLE!” is a spiritual experience – even when none of them are actually called ‘Bizzle’.
A powerful performer, Bizzle often gets mosh-pits going in his sets which can be a bit of a surprise to someone who’s not seen a grime or hip hop gig before.
Our advice? Put your preconceptions aside and go and get involved.
7) Faithless – Insomnia
If you have to ask why this song made the playlist, you’ll never truly understand.
Released in the mid ‘90s to immediate acclaim, and reaching platinum in 2015 after charting for a third time in 2005, this song has become synonymous with dance music culture. We’ve included the more accessible radio edit but if you’re feeling hardcore, check out the full version.
When the main riff kicks in and the crowd starts pumping, you’re in for a treat.
8) Never Gonna Give You Up - Rick Astley
When does a festival crowd become a world record attempt? When Rick Astley takes to the stage and the synth drum roll for this track begins. At this point you’re no longer just in a field in Chelmsford, you’re in the world’s largest rick-roll.
If you want to brush up on Rick’s new material before seeing him live, you can stream his new album here.
9) Rapper’s Delight - Sugarhill Gang
How often to you get to see a band that first popularised a genre?
Rapper’s Delight, released in 1979, sampled disco-legends Chic and became the first rap single to enter the Top 40. Its rhymes are simple when compared to modern hip hop, but the boys are just out to have a good time – no sign of beef or dissing anywhere.
We almost included Apache instead of Rapper’s Delight as an homage to Will and Carlton’s routine in the Fresh Prince. If you want to watch that instead (which you do), click here.
10) Why Does it Always Rain on Me - Travis
The third slot on the V Festival main stage is a far cry from headlining Glastonbury in 2000, but that doesn’t mean Travis have* fallen from grace.
We included this song as an insurance policy against the British weather. If it rains during the festival, go and see Travis and sing along to this with the band and your damp compadres, and it will all seem fine.
* Travis is the name of the band not any of the members, if you didn’t know.
11) Olé – John Newman
We can imagine raising our hands in the air to this song, just enough to make people unsure whether we do or don’t care.
“Olé, you bring too much sunlight to my day, and only you can chase the pain away” – definitely the sort of chorus that sees the person in front of you get covered in beer as you throw your hands up and sway them back and forth.
12) Call on Me – Eric Prydz
The throbbing and compulsive beat with the vacuously repeated “call on meeee, call on me, call on meeee, call on me” provide the perfect backdrop for the euphoric feeling that comes with being in a festival crowd while the sun sets on a warm August afternoon.
Eric headlines in Chelsmford on Friday, so the Staffordshire V Festivalgoers won’t get to see him, unfortunately!
Bonus track: Jazz news - Bill Bailey
He’s in the comedy tent so not technically playlist worthy, but his mellow reimagining of the news is fun and thought-provoking. Why is the news so “doom-laden and apocalyptic”, after all? Would a few jazz chords really go amiss?
Disclaimer to anyone who’s offended at the absence of the Kaiser Chiefs in this list: We couldn’t bring ourselves to include them. Sorry about that.