Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Is this cool?

Over, then, to this year's NME Cool List, which yet again declaims the notion of 'cool' itself until it refers to people who wear nice tops. Almost a reverse of the FHM list, now we come to think of it. Anyway:

20 Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance)
Oh, sod off. The British music press have never quite got emo, or indeed chosen not to get it, perhaps thinking of the Great Goth Wars of 1984. Clearly if it sounds like a rapless nu-metal group it's worth the effort, though.

19 Henry Harrison (Mystery Jets)
The senior one, of course, and if we're remembering correctly he seems to own a decent amount of Eel Pie Island too. If he'd finished much higher the papers that picked up on this would have had to explain who he is, which we'd have liked to have seen.

18 Tom Atkin (The Paddingtons)
Ugh. Redolent of those uncomfortable weeks when we were told Hedi Slimane should be influencing our music choices - is the pop/fashion tradeoff not normally the other way around?

17 Billie Joe Armstrong
And don't the kids just love it!

16 Paul Epworth
Was about here in the list last year, since when he appears to have spent his time refining his way of making guitars sound a bit tauter and done some rubbish remixes. Seven months ago it was decided that connecting his name with the word 'ubiquitous' would lead to the word flashing on big black screens behind the speaker while Stephen Fry mock-despairs.

15 Ninja (Go! Team)
She's paying for all those cheerleaders, you know.

14 Julian Casablancas
This is what's known as application of the advanced coolness factor, given nobody seems all that won over by the new material yet. This is a good time to remember that on their breakthrough UK tour of 2001 they were supported by Mull Historical Society. Whither Colin?

13 Ryan Jarman (The Cribs)
Mmm. So of the three singers on the recent NME tour the top 20 finds no room for the very successful and interesting Ricky Wilson or the mildly successful and interesting Paul Smith, but this bloke gets in. This is what passes for intrigue.

12 Damon Albarn
About as far from cool as humanly possible during and after the UK Music Hall Of Fame ceremony, which might explain why he's been spending time being lightboxes of late.

11 Ian Brown
Surely he's not done that much cool recently? Yes, nostalgia, but if that's the case you might as well put Fruitbat from Carter USM in.

10 Carl Barat
Not that he's done anything of note in 2005, but he still wears dark jackets which seems to be the dividing line.

9 Bob Dylan
Someone got the DVD set early.

8 Jemima Pearl (Be Your Own Pet)
For a band who seem to be making less and less impact since their first single, it's difficult to see why the NME editorial team have chosen the excitable cute blonde 17 year old... oh, wait up.

7 Pete Doherty
When he was named top of last year's chart Conor McNicholas defended the decision on the grounds that, whatever you thought of his habits, his story was the NME world story of the year. This year we're not totally sure he's in control of his story.

6 Devendra Banhart
Freak folk, a genre that increasingly appears to encompass every solo artist that isn't Phil Collins, is surely no better encapsulated than by Banhart's hirsuteness, self-indulgent gigs and lyrical obsession with mammals. Nobody seems to have bothered trying to describe him.

5 Brandon Flowers
Although a pink jacket will do just as well.

4 Antony Hegarty
In these days where we know Boy George's gender and every Old R&B singer's colour it's hard to think of anyone who exhibits more disparity between look and sound. In the Mercury-winning photos it looked like he was permanently puffing his cheeks out.

3 Kanye West
Just like Michael Moore, he is. We might think more of him if he hadn't spent months before his first record going on about how everyone in rap owed him a living. And if he stopped making bloody awful records, obviously.

2 Liam Gallagher
A pejorative question when it comes to this list, of course, but cool in what sense?

1 Alex Turner
It's a measure of their rise, if not a particularly saleable one, that most probably wouldn't know this is the Arctic Monkeys singer, much less recognise the distracted-during-pudding-bowl haircut yet. Only a matter of time, of course. While we're about it, Take Your Medicine collates their available mp3s (and their answer to the US Top 40 Bands and 33 Hottest Canadians is on the way)

They've also done the inevitable Fool List, which looks like this:

1 Richard Bacon
2 David Cameron
3 Prince Harry
4 Michael Jackson’s Jury
5 The Who
6 George Bush
7 Coca Cola
8 James Mullord
9 Tim Westwood
10 James Blunt
Bacon has always been a twat, of course, but he's here for his making friends and influencing Magic Numbers, which of course complements Romeo Stodart's place high up in the Cool Li...ah. Not entirely sure what the Who have done to deserve such hatred - nearly taken Zak Starkey away from Oasis? Made people read that supposed Pete Townshend blog? Coca Cola's download service is the only one the NME haven't run an advertising feature on. James Mullord is Pete Doherty's ex-manager, who ought to be on danger money rather than a Fool List. On second thoughts his label were first to sign Towers Of London, which should place him much, much higher.

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