Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Stupid people think it's cool, smart people think it's a joke - also cool

So the thing about the NME Cool List, which published again today, is it's a reductive use of an insta-reductive word, some specious notion based on a handful of people's opinions amalgated and compromised which end up showing up the magazine's latest editorial policy for what it is, changing wildly year on year and, if you believe in the word, creating an alternate 'cool' orthodoxy from those who declaim on the value of being left out. On the other hand, we had nothing better to do, so here's the new top fifty, worked out by, ooh, all sorts of precise science:

50 Spider Webb (The Horrors)
Last year's testaments to the power of Shockwaves, who despite many an article were never, ever going to win the hearts of a nation, which probably makes Conor think he's edgy. Unsurprisingly, in the new Mighty Boosh series. Although apparently he's the one with the enviable psych-garage collection, so we can let him off.

49 Dev Hynes (Lightspeed Champion)

48 Santogold
Dunno. MIA's mate, apparently.

47 Carlos D (Interpol)
It's all in the Wild West doctor look.

46 Patrick Wolf

45 Yannis Philippakis (Foals)
Yes, the two parts A Certain Ratio to one part Q And Not U boding well, but not content with the several partings, he's added a horribly camp tache of late.

44 Brandon Flowers

43 Suki (The Real Heat)
We've never heard of her or The Real Heat before. So we read the NME blurb, and we still have no idea. Put her down as one of those who flower for three minutes around Cool List time and you never hear of again.

42 Cole Alexander (Black Lips)

41 Josh Homme

40 Nicky Wire
Now pitched as some sort of elder statesman of being unhappy about modern music, although actually a lot more accepting than he used to be. It can't really have been for the album.

39 Kyle Falconer (The View)

38 Andy Burrows (Razorlight)
The drummer, and as every follower of pointless biz gossip knows, the actual writer of America. As Johnny Borrell often mentions, in fact. Also, this suggests this is something to be proud of.

37 Joe Lean (Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong)
Multi-pseudonymed ex-Pipettes drummer. You know, the band that are often to be read railing against identikit skinny boy Pete'n'Carl'n'Johnny-indebted 'indie'-guitar mugs. Let's leave that observation hanging there.

36 Ian Brown

35 Lou Hayter (New Young Pony Club)
One of the ones that aren't Phil Oakey Hair Girl. We've never really got along with NYPC, see.

34 Pete Doherty

33 Jamie T

32 Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance)

31 Tim Harrington (Les Savy Fav)
Tim sodding Harrington! Might have helped had they come across LSF before last month, but never mind.

30 Meg White
Exhaustion - is that cool?

29 Kele Okereke

28 Karen O

27 Simon Taylor (Klaxons)
Ahhhh. Although for the life of us we can't work out whether that really is the happy couple - it doesn't look exactly like Lovefoxx, and Taylor's hair isn't stupid enough.

26 Simon Neil (Biffy Clyro)

25 Morgan Yeah? (Does it Offend You, Yeah?)
That's Morgan Yeah? of Does it Offend You, Yeah?, everyone. Real surname, according to a couple of online sources, is Quaintance, which is actually far better.

24 Craig Finn (The Hold Steady)
The Foghorn Leghorn's Nephew Lookalike Contest winner of 2007, proving that in the American heartland there is no liver too weak.

23 Eddie Argos (Art Brut)
It does seem a shame that Art Brut have never sold any records, give or take a few hundred, when clearly a good TV slot would take him into the stratosphere. Not Buzzcocks. Bring Pop Quiz back, just for this purpose.

22 Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys)
He's launched his own clothing range! What's going on in pop these days?

21 Caleb Followill (Kings of Leon)

See? It's like some extras from Almost Famous, except this time well in the background of label 'do' scenes that were cut.

20 James Smith (Hadouken!)
Glamorous name. Becapped 'grindie' tyke sporting accent very much not that of native Watford putting himself forward as anti-scenester (cf Jarman, R) in band whose Wikipedia page is curiously nominated for deletion. How soon the pop world turns.

19 Matt Bellamy

18 Brandon Flowers’ Tache (Brandon Flowers, The Killers)
Yeah, yeah. Maybe Yannis is onto something after all.

17 Hayley Williams (Paramore)
Oh, put Avril in and have done with it.

16 Noel Gallagher

15 Tom Clarke (The Enemy)
They're like The Jam! No, they're like The Records without the ideas. Funny how like fellow Coventryites the Specials he writes about the decay of Coventry and yet makes it seem almost appealing in comparison.

14 Prince
See, Spice Girls, a load of O2 Arena shows and you're putty in everyone's hands. Current critical reappraisal some would say overdue, although it's not as if he makes it easy for himself.

13 Drew McConnell (Babyshambles)
Bassist, reserve band mouthpiece and the only spokesman Love Music Hate Racism can seemingly find. Says here he has an Institute Of Contemporary Music degree in bass playing. Good god, they give degrees for four-string plucking?

12 Thom Yorke
Currently rebuilding the music industry very slowly.

11 MIA
Hark, iLX exploding.

10 Keith Richards
The whole ashes farrago blew up in an NME interview, see. Keith is an invenerate interview pisstaker, but the idea he snorted his dad's own remains is believable. Yeah, like the Loch Ness Monster is believable.

9 Beth Ditto
One of the most fascinating things this year has been watching support for last year's number one drop away as she flip-flops on the Kate Moss subject, or does a homespun Guardian advice column, or presents the Friday Night Project (Justin and Alan's pre-filmed comedy bit was about burlesque, which is all sorts of opportunities missed)

8 Amy Winehouse
Well, no, she shouldn't be a role model, but nobody's really asking her to be one so it's a bit late to start complaining. Apart from as role model to Halloween costumiers, obviously.

7 Kate Nash
If you ever get a moment, go to Kate's Myspace and read her mighty list of influences, which starts "London, Storytelling, Cabaret, Poetry, Punk, Rock, Folk, Jazz, Hip Hop, Ska, Garage, Politics" and progresses through Nancy from Oliver, Peaches, Katie Jane Garside, The Adverts, Tracy Chapman, Bikini Kill, DJ Luck and MC Neat, Shola Ama, Roald Dahl and "Anything with Christmas in it".

6 Alex Turner

5 Lethal Bizzle
Does anyone else get the feeling that grime has lost? Dubstep swiped away its low-level following and Bizzle decided he always wanted to be a punk and collaborate with Babyshambles after all.

4 Ryan Jarman (The Cribs)
Yeah! Man those barricades against corporate indie! Which, by the way, everyone now thinks the Cribs are part of. You lose.

3 Lovefoxxx
Occasionally fringed saucetress on her own terms who seems to be the subject of a million anecdotes concerning her homeland live antics, none of which are ever corroborated, and will never get the catsuit into fashion.

2 Jamie Reynolds (Klaxons)
Visual weight-fluctuating frontman whose band really should stop being recorded for telly while playing live, as they never come within a million miles of coming across well. May have taken illegal substances in his life.

1 Frank Carter (Gallows)
Living proof that you can still rock a crowd when you're wearing tattoos, "Frank Carter is a legend in gooseberry-growing circles". Sorry, that just made us laugh for longer than is healthy. Here's Conor's journalism-excusing blurb for the year: "Thirty years after the height of punk there are a whole load of new bands making wild and passionate noise. But it takes more than just great music to make it to the top of the Cool List - these people effortlessly set trends with every breath they take - and it's great to see that people like Keith Richards prove that you don’t have to be young to do this." Great steaming christ.


Anonymous said...

You obviously know nothing about music and should stop writing about it.

Simon said...

Do you know, I was going to be all smart-arsed about this in response, but I like the emotional directness there. No convoluted explanation or defence, just a completely fat-free line of attack. In any case, it's a commenter who isn't someone pointing out an unintended injoke, and it all counts towards the visitor numbers.

Anonymous said...

the words "grossly out of touch with modern music" seem to come to mind. you're not some cunt waiting for the coral to be in the charts again are you?

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