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Miscellaneous - The Brit Awards 2010

  by Jon Rogers

published: 13 / 1 / 2010

Miscellaneous - The Brit Awards 2010


In his 'Hitting the Right Note' column, Jon Rogers finds the nominations list for the Brit Awards 2010 to be both lacking and superficial

Admittedly having a pop at the nominations for this year’s Brit Awards is rather like shooting fish in a barrel – oh so easy to do. In fact it’s so easy to do it’s almost like stating the obvious. Almost any industry insider will willingly relate tales of record label horse-trading and back rubbing to get their artist of the moment on the short list. The committee – basically record label bigwigs – have a nice little meeting or two and do a version of ‘I’ll vote for your act, if you’ll vote for mine’ and slap each other on the back and congratulate each other for having excellent taste in music. In effect it is little more than a shop window for the record industry to hawk whatever artist is currently flavour of the month and boost sales. When an award is handed out to Robbie Williams for his ‘outstanding contribution’ you know that’s not much hope. Nothing really wrong in that at all. There is the Mercury Music Prize which is aimed at a more serious, creative aspect rather than just popularity and the chance for some cute little pop poppet to shake his or her stuff at the camera. But the Brits aren’t really there just for the popularity stakes as otherwise Susan Boyle, star of 'Britain’s Got Talent', would be down on the list. But, if reports are to be believed, she’s just not “cool” enough. But apparently the likes of Alexandra Burke, Paolo Nutini, Pixie Lott, JLS, Muse, Alesha Dixon and Calvin Harris are. If they’re cool, Pennyblackmusic must be frozen solid. So if the Brits are all about sales and a spot of backslapping at a time when record sales seem to be in terminal decline that’s fine and there’s little wrong with a fantastic slice of unashamed pop – anyone remember Kylie Minogue’s performance in 2002 of ‘Can’t Get Blue Monday Out of My Head’? Superb stuff. So make it about sales, even if Boyle isn’t quite so televisual as you would like. But that wouldn’t really fit the image though the record industry would like to have. Pop music likes to have that youthful image. Young, pretty, lithe singers and groups singing cheery, asinine tunes to a young, pretty, lithe audience (and those young viewers are much beloved of a commercial TV station and advertisers). And despite the established record industry’s perceived rebellious attitude you don’t want anyone that is actually going to cause a bit of an upset and not do exactly as they are told. Anyone remember when Situationist pranksters the KLF shook things up with some dead sheep and a thrash metal version of ‘3am Eternal’ with Extreme Noise Terror? So to stamp down on that sort of thing just nominate a load of pop puppets that smile and grin and won’t rock the boat, won’t say any four-lettered words and won’t throw buckets of water over deputy prime ministers. No doubt Lady Gaga turning up in some barely-there costume will be about as ‘dangerous’ as things get. And while nice polite behaviour is perhaps expected of the pop acts even the more ‘rock’ nominations are just as bad – Kasabian, Muse and Friendly Fires – all nothing more than stylised boy bands with guitars. The thing is though that while the Brits parade an endless line of bland, asinine pop it is those moments when stars do go off script and shake things up that are the most memorable. The KLF and those sheep, Chumbawamba’s protest at John Prescott and not forgetting Jarvis Cocker making his feelings known during Michael Jackson’s ‘Earth Song’. And it’s those moments that make watching every year worthwhile, sitting through the dross hoping that at least someone might do something even vaguely interesting. And no, Lily Allen saying a rude word doesn’t count. And one final point, of all the acts nominated, there is only one that I actually want to win. Bat for Lashes (aka Natasha Khan) is a hopeful in the British Female Solo Artist category and her second album is a marked improvement on her debut which now sees her come into her own much more and found her own (original) voice. She deserves to win, but probably won’t.

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