January is a funny old month for music. Following on from the turgid Christmas songs and end of year lists that December brings, January presents a confusing mix of ‘ones to watch’ lists and award ceremonies. Earlier this month, the nominations were announced for the 32nd BRIT awards. What was originally created to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee by recognising the best of British music during her reign, has now evolved to become one of the biggest nights in the British entertainment calendar. From Jarvis Cocker’s legendary stage invasion during Michael Jackson’s performance of ‘Earth Song’, to the ongoing feud between Robbie Williams and the Gallagher brothers, the BRIT Awards are now as much about celebrity tiffs as they are about music.
The 2012 nominees suggest that this year’s awards are even less concerned with the music. Rather than celebrating the cream of British music, this year’s nominees list reads like a who’s who of what the Guardian’s Peter Robinson called ‘The New Boring’, citing Adele’s performance of ‘Someone Like You’ at last year’s awards ceremony as the beginning of the age of beige.
This year’s ceremony looks to be more ginger than beige, with Ron Weasley doppelganger Ed Sheeran leading the pack with four nominations, closely followed by last year’s Critics’ Choice winner Jessie J who is up for three awards. The winners are supposedly decided by a panel of a thousand industry experts, however this year it could be argued they simply consulted the Trending Topics on Twitter and picked the most popular artists at that time. While mainstream pop acts such as Adele and JLS dominate the list, there has been an attempt to include more credible acts like Mercury award winner PJ Harvey and music veteran Kate Bush in the proceedings. While this is admirable at a time when reality shows are consistently churning out manufactured acts, it has also highlighted the ignorance of those involved; Wisconsin indie-folk group Bon Iver may be wondering why they’re up against acts such as Bruno Mars and David Guetta in the International Male Solo Artist category.
A potted history of the BRITs
-from Issue 245 of Epigram