Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Br!ts?

Mark Reed on the annual Backslap Awards

If its mid-February, and there's a traditional sales slump between now and the summer festivals, what better way to stimulate sales with the Brits?

Normally I'm extremely blah about the Brits, but even I know its full of shit this year. An annual attempt to backslap, alongside some shoehorned comedian-du-jour, some megabands plugging their new album, and a few edgy rude words from some public figures for the token controversy and there you are. Throw in Bono doing a "V" sign at the camera, and you've got a full house on Brits Bingo. Job done.

But the nominations? Boy, is the finger not on the pulse this year. Duffy won about 4000 awards (expecially if you include Bernard Butler ex-Suede, currently slumming it producing glacial, epic semi-Phil Spector backing tracks for her). It seems wrong for Annie Lennox not to win, being as she has been nominated for the past 15 years consecutively and won about 10 of those when Kate Bush was sleeping. What is odd though, is exactly how staid, dull and conservative these nominations are. Ian Brown's nominated, which is firstly about bloody time, but also, absolutely baffling as he hasn't released a record in 18 months and barely played live in the past year in the UK.

Best British Female is equally baffling, as it has been since inception. And what about the artistically reborn (albeit meagre selling) Brett Anderson? or Morrissey? Why wasn't he nominated Best British Male? After all, he's put out two records in the past year (if you count the 'Greatest Hits') and toured a fair bit as well. Elbow won best British group, but what about all the other great British groups that haven't even been nominated? I suppose we should be thankful Oasis didn't get it, being as they are 20 years past their prime, but where were The Cure, and what about Ben Folds in Best International Male? What about REM's Accelerate in Best International albums? Or Sigur Ros anywhere?

Do you even know who these non descript bank managers are? Personally I think they should restrict each act to only being nominated twice. Elbow have three, Duffy five, Coldplay four. That's more than enough.

What about who should have been nominated? What do you think?

Personally, I'm staggered by the categories they don't have.

Most pointless reissue? Stupidest career move? Best reunion?

Don't even get me started on the pointlessness of 'Best Single'. the fact is that the Brits probably don't even know what a 7" single is, let alone actually listened to any of the thousands of struggling bands putting out self-funded slices of genius. Oh no. The best single this year was Girls Abloodyloud. Most branches of HMV don't even stock singles anymore, most people don't make them, and the last time I bought a single was through the post. What mediocre selling artist is it that I bought? Morrissey, last seen headlining a show to 45,000 people in London, yet not popular enough for shops to stock his singles. For heavens sake, no wonder the industry is in such a terminal state.

Still, in order to appeal to 'The Kids', or something, Pet Shop Boys duetted with Lady Gaga,which is frankly, fucking shocking - shoehorning in some new talent which a year ago was unknown to try and stay relevant. There's much better talent being ignored wholeheartedly by The Brits, as in one hand it backslaps itself, and in the other most of the industry shits itself in terror as irrelevant because the luddites fight against the tide as intellectual King Canutes. They're out of touch with the vibrant art being produced all around them, busy applauding their outdated business models and their conservative, tedious tastes. Still, you can't hear great new music when you have your head in the sand.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Annie's mate Dave Stewart ought to have been entered in the "Best Male Artist called Dave Stewart" category, in which, in a perfect world, he'd have lost heavily to Dave Stewart out of Hatfield And The North.