Tuesday, January 29, 2008

This is nothing but a goddamn popularity contest

With the Brits being posited as "the year manufactured pop struck back" to avoid the record industry having to publicly admit that not much happened on record in 2007, the NME awards had the chance in their nominations to reseal their position as the proper alternative after several years of major award shortlists mirroring those of what was set up as the enemy. Instead, everyone has decided to retreat to what they know like a commercial radio station's playlisting software. Feel the danger and vitality, but before that look at these categories:

Best British Band: Arctic Monkeys, Babyshambles, The Cribs, Klaxons, Muse

Oasis actually did something this year and get repaid by being dumped from their Best British Band nomination birthright. There's gratitude. Interesting to see no Radiohead, given a) they turn up for NME awards, or at least did last time they were about, and b) it demonstrates something tangible, nay, inscrutable about the modern NME readership.

Best International Band: Arcade Fire, Foo Fighters, The Killers, Kings Of Leon, My Chemical Romance

God, what a vanilla selection - ver Fire aside, it's 'edgy' and 'alternative' as Ken Bruce might deem it. Even the Brits get it together enough to nominate Cat Power and Feist.

Best New Band: The Enemy, Foals, Joe Lean And The Jing Jang Jong, The Pigeon Detectives, The Wombats

Right, three in and we're already calling bollocks on the transparency of the voting results. There is no way that Joe Lean And The Jing Jang Jong, currently setting unique markers for bad live reviews, message board hatred, pissing off journalists who are attempting to write puff pieces and not seeing huge major label investment reflected in playlisting or any wider interest at all, would garner enough independent votes to make the top five in such a category without the guiding hand of the NME having a second spot on their tour starting this week to justify.

Best Live Band: Arctic Monkeys, The Cribs, Kaiser Chiefs, Muse, My Chemical Romance

And we doubt the Cribs would have got in here had they not had a slot to fulfil. Otherwise it's 'bands that play enormodomes' as much as 'bands that put on a show'. A month later and Led Zeppelin might have made it in.

Best Solo Artist: Kate Nash, Jack Penate, Jamie T, Amy Winehouse, Patrick Wolf

Patrick Wolf had an odd 2007 in which he decided to take the T4 route to becoming a Proper Pop Star, hanging around with Peaches and Kelly, famously duetting with Charlotte Church losing all shreds of his unique worldview in favour of wearing some cut-off lederhosen and jumping around a bit. The International Board Of Proper Pop Stardom responded by asking what the hell he was playing at with those sequencer settings and sent him away with a flea in his ear. What happens next, as he is by all accounts already working on a fourth album he once said he'd never make, will be fascinating. Far more fascinating than trawling through the rest of this selection, in any case.

Best Album: Favourite Worst Nightmare, In Rainbows, Myths Of The Near Future, Shotters Nation, Sound Affects we’ll Live And Die In These Towns

Myths Of The Near Future even most Klaxons fans had given up as a badly produced, uneven, full of filler (although why do most single out Isle Of Her, one of two decent non-singles on it?) collection, then did a communal 360 when the NME decided it was album of the year just so they could go "look at our man mashed on the breakfast telly!" yet again. How big of him. Shotters Nation meanwhile went down only as 'an improvement', and only then because it had a proper producer, Stephen Street from the nineties. Next year, Linkin Park achieve critical parity with an album produced by Roy Thomas Baker.

Best Track: Fluorescent Adolescent, FluX, Let’s Dance To Joy Division, Lord Don’t Slow Me Down, Men’s Needs

We thought everyone (and we mean that word in terms of our own little closeted worldview) hated Flux, then saw people dancing to it on the PA between bands last week. We do know people hated Lord Don't Slow Me Down, so this must be the bargaining chip to get Noel to turn up. He might say something. This is the Cribs' third of four nominations. Did we miss a meeting?

Best Video: D.A.N.C.E., Flux, Golden Skans, Teddy Picker, Teenagers

Teddy Picker was a performance video, Teenagers a performance video with cheerleaders. Flux had people dressed as robots in it, but no more convincingly than in the average Beastie Boys video. You can't really look beyond D.A.N.C.E., so they will.

Best Dancefloor Filler: Atlantis To Interzone, D.A.N.C.E., Flux, Hummer, Let’s Dance To Joy Division

AKA the Hello, We Have A Club, Remember? And Branded DJs! You can't dance to Let’s Dance To Joy Division any more than you can dance to Dead Souls.

Best Music DVD: Amy Winehouse - I Told You I Was Trouble, Lord Don’t Slow Me Down, Nirvana Unplugged In New York, The Song Remains The Same (Special Edition), Up The Shambles

Two reissues. Wonderful.

Best Live Event: Glastonbury, Muse At Wembley Stadium, Reading And Leeds Festival, T In The Park, V Festival

Don't be too obvious, will you. It's from here that it all goes a little Smash Hits.

Hero Of The Year: Matt Bellamy, Pete Doherty, Noel Fielding, Ryan Jarman, Thom Yorke

Above and beyond the call of duty, all. Especially Ryan Jarman, who made a brave stand against the corporate indie hordes. He did this at the Mean Fiddler-invested, heavily sponsored Glastonbury festival, the first of a number of major festivals his band played in 2007 which helped secure their place on the NME Awards tour. He's virtually Billy Childish. If you're surprised to find Noel Fielding has worked his way into the Shockwaves nation's hearts, imagine how Julian Barrett, who actually writes the music and at least half of the script of the Boosh, feels. Still, good to know that Thom came up with the pay what you feel model all by himself.

Villain Of The Year: Tony Blair, Johnny Borrell, Gordon Brown, George W Bush, Amy Winehouse

Shame they didn't bite the bullet and call it Most Very Horrible Thing. We'd have voted for spiders. Instead, a male rocker has heroin issues and is nominated for Hero Of The Year, while a female non-rocker has heroin issues and is nominated for Villain Of The Year. Paging Camille Paglia!

Best Dressed: Pete Doherty, Noel Fielding, Kate Nash, Alex Turner, Gerard Way
Worst Dressed: Johnny Borrell, Pete Doherty, Mika, Gerard Way, Amy Winehouse

Nobody knows the criteria at all, do they? They might as well have gone the whole hog and put a Best/Worst Haircut award in.

Best Album Artwork: Because Of The Times, Favourite Worst Nightmare, Sawdust, Send Away The Tigers, The Good The Bad And The Queen

Worth doing.

Best Radio Show: Russell Brand, Zane Lowe, Chris MoyleS, Colin Murray, Jo Whiley

Every so often a Courteeners fan will draw themselves to their virtual full height and declare "I think you'll find Jo Whiley knows about new music!" No, Huw Stephens knows about new music. Jo Whiley knows about whatever the major labels are foisting on her now as bands creating a natural buzz - yeah, right - and gets an audible frisson of rulebreaking excitement whenever she plays Gallows.

Worst Album: All The Lost Souls, Blackout, Life In Cartoon Motion, Spirit, The Trick To Life

It's those major labels, isn't it, always ploughing their money into heavy promotion of the lowest common denominator for unthinking plebs. Pause to allow irony to sink in having read all the categories so far, continue.

Worst Band: 30 Seconds To Mars, Fall Out Boy, The Hoosiers, My Chemical Romance, Panic At The Disco

The War On Emo may outlive us all.

Best TV Show: Heroes, The IT Crowd, The Mighty Boosh, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Skins

To explain: The Mighty Boosh had Noel Fielding in it. Buzzcocks had Noel Fielding in it. The IT Crowd had Noel Fielding in it (and Game Of Pricks playing out one episode, by the by). Skins had people who want to be Noel Fielding in it. Heroes is the compromise choice once it emerged putting The Big Fat Quiz Of The Year in would have been a bit obvious.

Best Film: Control, Hot Fuzz, Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End, The Simpsons Movie, Superbad

Some people vote for an Anton Corbijn arthouse movie, some for Superbad. If only every category was as wide ranging.

Sexiest Man: Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist, Julian Barrett, Noel Fielding, Nicky Wire, Patrick Wolf

Even in this metrosexual age nobody's really sure across the board what constitutes male sexiness, hence this compromise of a list. Unlike this one...

Sexiest Woman: Jenny Lewis, Kylie Minogue, Rhianna, Hayley Williams, Rachael Yamagata

And so Rachael Yamagata receives her first ever NME acknowledgement, if perhaps not in the way she intended. These two were voted for online by the expedient of flashing up photos and text going "go on, you fancy her, don't you?", but even then we can't imagine the Yamagata Myspace hordes descending. Kylie turned up at the awards a few years ago and the press covered nothing else at all from them the next day.

Best Venue: Carling Academy Brixton, Glasgow Barrowlands, London Astoria, Manchester Apollo, Wembley Stadium

Wembley? How easily pleased are these voters?

Best Website: Bebo, Facebook, Last.fm, Myspace, YouTube

Ah, Web 2.0. And note no Pitchfork, Drowned In Sound or such, because there are no other online music news sources than nme.com. Repeat. There are no other online music news sources than nme.com.

Best Band Blog: Foals, Lightspeed Champion, Lily Allen, Radiohead, The Streets

Feeling sorry for yourself is evidently the new black. Literally, if we're talking emo. Actually Foals' is good, Dev is as pleasingly rambling as any LJer, Radiohead's is inscrutable, and the Streets' one has a really strong street team.

Best Music Blog: The Hype Machine, The Modern Age, Nothing But Green Lights, Spinner, Stereogum

It's alright, we'll cope. Seriously, very well done to Mike NBGL, who seems to have achieved this without having to beg (he was featured in the magazine a couple of years ago, but then so was Dominic Masters) and is consequently ranked for now alongside The Hype Machine, which isn't even a blog.


Mike // NBGL said...

I'll be representing the U.K contingent, but I have yet to hear whether I'll get a chauffer driven limo to the awards ceremony.

The Daily Growl said...

I'd vote for you Mike, but it looks like I'd have to go through the whole painful charade and vote for all the other shit before reaching the blog voting bit. Let me know if I can get straight there and cut out the crap...

Mike // NBGL said...

Yeh there's a rather annoying catch 22 there.

Thanks you for support!

I think the hype machine has this one in the bag...

the non-blog will win the blog award!

Anonymous said...

didn't think you'd manage to criticise EVERY single award. but you've managed it. impressively cynical post

The Daily Growl said...

Impressively cynical, yeah so? That's what's good about it. You mean you actually think the NME awards are good? A good representation of what's good about music today? Heck, even the Brit Awards seem edgy by comparison...!

Gay Holidays said...

Best Live Event: Glastonbury - well, if that's the case - we've put a detailed guide on our website about how to get tickets for this years festival! We heard there were thousands still left and have splashed it all over our website with a step by step guide. If you've never been.... now's your chance. http://www.gayholidays.com/glastonbury-festival-registration.html

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