Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Brits shortlist in full, horrific length

As "predicted" by Victoria Newton this morning, then, here's the Brits shortlist:

British male solo artist: James Morrison, Jarvis Cocker, Lemar, Paolo Nutini, Thom Yorke

Lemar? It's almost embarrassing, isn't it, that they still have to fall back on Lemar as the Brits committee seem unable to come up with any other non-white male artist, year-in, year-out. In an ideal world, this would be a straight battle between Jarvo and Thommo, with Jarvis a winner on the basis that we should be crowding round him, welcoming his return. But surely they won't give it to the almost interchangeable Nutini/Morrison, will they?

British female solo artist: Amy Winehouse, Corinne Bailey Rae, Jamelia, Lily Allen, Nerina Pallot

Nothing too inspiring here - it's like a Radio 2 daytime playlist. Jamelia's stuff last year was pretty weak, but we hadn't realised how weak: she can't even quite make up the numbers any more. We suspect Lily Allen will win this - she's bound to win a couple of awards, just because she's the supposedly modern, sassy face of how the UK music industry likes to think it is.

British album: Amy Winehouse - Back to Black, Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, Lily Allen - Alright Still, Muse - Black Holes & Revelations, Snow Patrol - Eyes Open.

Predictable enough (oh, they all are, aren't they?). Artistically, Muse are a yard and a half ahead of the rest of the pack, but Snow Patrol have international appeal and the Arctic Monkeys can probably hope to pick up a share of votes from people who aren't close enough down with kids to assume that the Monkeys are.

British group: Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, Muse, Razorlight, Snow Patrol.

In order then: not as good as everyone tells them they are; not as good as they think they are; not as good as they could be; not as good as Johnny Borrell thinks they would be if he got rid of the rest of them; not as good as their royalties suggests they are. This is the sort of list of nominees which lead people to trill about how strong British music is, but really it shows just how, as a nation, we're easily pleased. It should have been Girls Aloud.

British breakthrough act: Corinne Bailey Rae, The Fratellis, James Morrison, The Kooks, Lily Allen. (Winner chosen by BBC Radio 1 listeners)

The Arctic Monkeys clearly broke through during the last 12 months, but they'd already won this. In terms of commercial appeal, the Kooks should win, but you need to factor in the Radio One audience, with their mobile phones and the constant voting and the Jo Whiley live lounge. It'll go to Lily Allen, unless the Fratellis call in the idiots who rigged the Today Christmas poll to make it seem like we all love killing foxes.

International breakthrough act: Gnarls Barkley, Orson, The Raconteurs, Ray Lamontagne, Wolfmother. (Winner chosen by MTV viewers)

Ray the mountain? Unquestionably international, but broken through? He could be running a find the lady con in Oxford Street and they'd still not be able to pick him out on CCTV. Likewise Wolfmother, who, god bless them, have yet to create a buzz to match their carbon footprint as they tour the planet. The Raconteurs should be disqualified simply because it's just that bloke out the White Stripes, and as such hardly starting from a standing start like the competition. Orson will probably beat Gnarls Barkley, because the MTV audience prefers Pimp My Ride to music television.

British live act: George Michael, Guillemots, Kasabian, Muse, Robbie Williams. (Winner chosen by BBC Radio 2 listeners)

Nice to see the Guillemots getting a plug there, although it'd take getting the Mark Radcliffe show audience vote out in large numbers to challenge the heftier hitters they're up against. We suspect that, without anywhere else to turn their attention, the Robbie Woolworths fans will have their day with this one.

British single: Corinne Bailey Rae - Put Your Records On, The Feeling - Fill My Little World, James Morrison - You Give Me Something, The Kooks - She Moves In Her Own Way, Leona Lewis - A Moment Like This, Lily Allen - Smile, Razorlight - America, Sandi Thom - I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker, Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars, Take That - Patience, Will Young - All Time Love. (Five nominees from this shortlist will be chosen by listeners to two commercial radio chart shows. A live public vote will decide the winner on the night)

In the event of a tie, then the singer with the longest hair shall win. The only piece of soothing balm about this convoluted system of putting the singles up for the approval of the combined might of ILR and ITV listeners and viewers is that there's nothing decent in there. Imagine if you'd made a brilliant single last year and found you were going to have to undergo not one, but two battles against Sandi Thom, winners decided by Lucio's natural constituency, you'd just give up, wouldn't you?

International male solo artist: Beck, Bob Dylan, Damien Rice, Jack Johnson, Justin Timberlake

Now, we're not the sort of people who think that Dylan is god. We don't even like him that much. But what sort of skewed logic has got him competing in this pool? It's like, oooh, a much younger David Beckham playing soccer in the US it's such a mismatch. Has anyone in the UK ever bought a Jack Johnson record? Beck's spark went out so long ago he needs a torch to be able to find his own shoes, and it's about time we started to face up to the fact that SexyBack was the work of someone who nods everytime they paste one of their own reviews into the scrapbook.

But we imagine Timberlake will be given the prize. We're not ready to be honest yet.

International female solo artist: Beyoncé, Cat Power, Christina Aguilera, Nelly Furtado, Pink

Cat Power? Oh, we'd love to see it - it's made us almost forgive the Brits for everything (even Chris Evans two years in a row) that Chan somehow found her way onto the nominations. In our mind, we're picturing her, Pink and Beyonce doing a Supremes cover... but then we keep fading to someone saying "... it's Nelly Furtado..."

International group: The Flaming Lips, Gnarls Barkley, The Killers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Scissor Sisters

This prize is, apparently, only given once every ten years, which is why so many bands who haven't done anything in the last 12 months especially notable are getting nominations for their past work. We suppose. Gnarls Barkley, we'd suggest, if we were a betting man, should just about beat the rest.

International album: Bob Dylan - Modern Times, Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/LoveSounds, The Killers - Sam's Town, Scissor Sisters - Ta-Dah, Gnarls Barkley - St Elsewhere

Critical darling turns in an album just this side of 'will this do', critical darling turns in an album just the other side of 'will this do', critical darlings turn in an album that just won't do, critical darlings turn in an album which is frankly taking the piss. Gnarls Barkley have the sweetest two words in the English language to thank for their best chance as far as quality goes; but the actual winner will be down to whoever the Brits academy thinks will make them look best and most with-it for voting for.

There you are, then. We wouldn't put any money on our suggestions for who will come out on top - there's so much horsetrading and back-scratching behind the scenes that there's still room for a lot of random outcomes. We think we might Sky+ and fast forward through the whole thing, though, for fear of what we might do the TV when these shortlists become winners.


Chris said...

"Has anyone in the UK ever bought a Jack Johnson record?"

According to Radio 1s chart of the year, in terms of album sales (singles no longer matter blah blah blah") Jack Johnson outsold everybody else in his category. He also outsold all the "Best British Female" candidates as well. It's granola bland hippie surfer shite, but it shifts units like crazy.

Anonymous said...

With regards to horsetrading, you can sometimes make a few quid by working out which label the obvious winners are signed to. If there's a more open category that's trickier to call, picking the act signed to the (major) label with the least amount of shoo-in winners can prove lucrative. - E.

simon h b said...


That really surprises me. I've never met anyone who even knows who he is - seriously, I've been trying it as a test today. Some people think he might have once run the NUM or something.

I'm aware that he helped ruin Curious George for a generation.

Chris said...

(He says as delicately as possible...) Maybe it's a generational thing. Most of the people I was at University with loved him - particularly the wannabe stoner set. My housemate knew he was and she hadn't heard of The Dandy Warhols, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, or Thom Yorke (amongst many others). I guess he's also very Radio 2 friendly...

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