Why was the Brits so rubbish?
In typically succinct fashion, Noel Gallagher summed up last weeks desperately dull Brit Awards with one simple rhetorical question: ‘Where have all the rock stars gone?’
Obviously guitar-based ‘rock’ music can’t always be at the very forefront of our nation’s music scene (apparently these things run in ‘cycles’), but ‘rock stars’ definitely should be. Not the poodle-haired, leather-jacket and shades wearing rock stars of decades past, but the kind of artists and bands that are not afraid to occasionally stick their fingers up to the establishment and cause a bit of trouble.
Jarvis Cocker will always get namechecked in this kind of article, but his bum-baring antics were an extreme (and if we’re honest, a slightly embarrassing) example of the kind of behaviour we expect from our high-profile rock stars. At the Brits, we should at least expect a bit of random drunkenness and swearing – two pillars of basic rock star behaviour that were this year only observed by Jack Whitehall! What the hell is going on!? I remember the days when Blur going up to the stage with bottles of beer and Liam Gallagher spitting on the stage were seen as tame ‘rock star’ behaviour. Now the only person we can rely on is a shamelessly careerist upper-middle class twonk of a comedian.
The question I asked myself while watching Wednesday’s roll call of sterile Brit Awards presenters, nominees and winners was – ‘is British music really this bland, or have the Brit Awards just become irrelevant?’
When you consider recent album releases like that of Foals and My Bloody Valentine, future releases like Palma Violets’ 180 and Atoms For Peace’s AMOK and the kind of stuff the Brits overlooked from last year (The Cribs, Bloc Party, The xx etc…) then I don’t think you can honestly conclude that British music is the soulless vacuum that last weeks Brits portrayed it as. Which must mean the Brit Awards have become irrelevant – just as Top Of The Pops did a few years ago – by pandering too much to the unit-shifting acts and not paying enough attention to the bands and artists that add the real quality, invention and colour to our music industry.
Ben Howard, for instance, is certainly a fairly talented guy who knows his way around a gentle acoustic ballad – but come on, he doesn’t even warrant a performance slot on our biggest music ceremony of the year, never mind two awards! Same goes for Mumford & Sons. They’re not a great band, they’re a decent band. A solid, safe band. Just because these kind of bland acts sell a lot of albums to casual music fans doesn’t mean they are the best at what they do.
The reason the Brits are so keen on pandering to the populist acts is obvious – they care more about trending on Twitter for one evening than promoting and sustaining the great music coming out of this country. Their shameless invention of an award to give to One Direction says it all really. I know the importance of building a big audience, especially for a show that is so dependent on sponsors and commercial TV adverts, but anyone who is interested in good music must be worried about the direction the Brits are taking. With every characterless, bland and boring ceremony centred on faceless ‘stars’ with nothing to say, they lose their integrity and reputation – which has a direct effect on the integrity and reputation of British music in general. It’s not like they didn’t have the chance to get some interesting acts on stage – on sales alone, Tame Impala easily deserved an ‘International Group/Album’ nod, and a performance slot, for the massively successful Lonerism. But they were nowhere to be seen, ignored for ‘safer’ options like The Script!!!
So next year, lets hope they take heed and get a few proper rock stars into the O2 to add a bit of spice and drama to the night. Who wouldn’t want to see Jake Bugg slap One Direction while Primal Scream trash the stage and Liam Gallagher heckles James Corden!? That’s the kind of Brit Awards we really want to see. Well, I do anyway…
What did you think of this years Brits? Is my rant accurate or am I missing the point? Join in the discussion below…