6th March 2013

Column: The Day the Music Died

Have Music Awards lost their significance? Does a Brit award actually matter? Do we care?

In a month that saw two of the biggest award ceremonies, February should have been a huge month on the music calendar. But as I lie awake at night I can’t help but worry, what do I actually remember? Previous Brit awards at least had scuffles worth recalling, Vic Reeves and Sharon Osbourne being a particular favourite. 2013 saw events resided over by the loathsome James Cordon, accompanied by an array of equally uninspiring hosts. Which leaves me wondering, did anything actually happen? I know time passed, we can’t deny that, but what can I actually tell my mates about down the pub?

Oh, silly me, there was loads of things! For a kick-off Harry clapped Taylor Swift, you’d think after a month’s worth of romance they couldn’t bear to be in the same room as each other without one of them breaking down. Then at the Grammys there was Elton John giving a fist (steady on) to the face of Lumineers drummer Jeremiah Fraites. As far as drama goes we can’t ask for much more, but I feel like I’m missing something, oh yeah – music.

If there was anything more depressing than the tabloid tittle-tattle it was the acts themselves. A particularly disheartening moment was seeing a once exciting and interesting Muse reduced to a hopeless parody of themselves as they opened the Brits. The grandiose drama of Origins of Symmetry has been blown up to ridiculous proportions, with ‘supremacy’ featuring violin sounds reminiscent of those head-jerking maniacs on Britain’s Got Talent. Alternative rock music even your mum can dig, no thanks.

Along with Muse, The Brits saw other commercial heavyweights like Mumford and Sons, Coldplay and One Direction collect meaningless awards – calling them the best of a bad bunch is overplaying their worth. Most were surprised to see Ben Howard pick up British Breakthrough Act and British Male Solo Artist, despite trending on twitter with ‘who the fuck is Ben Howard?’. He’s got all the prerequisites to be popular and so he shall be – just another droid, this year’s James Blunt if you like.

The Brits got so bad that Mr. Showbiz himself, Robbie Williams has even had enough. Dubbing the event “so fucking boring” then going on to elaborate “It’s like a VD clinic, only pricks are in it, so fucking corporate and professional and timid. To be frank sir, I prefer this showbiz chancer…” Ironic really, considering Robbie has been one of our main corporate pricks for a while, some call him cheeky, but in actual fact he’s just an arse. Again this show of limp-wristed defiance is certainly more interesting than his performance at the Brits, a track I wouldn’t wish on the worst of people.

Despite Robbie’s hypocritical stance, he makes a valid point. Music has always had a commercial hunger, right back from the Motown hit factory to the Brit pop rivalry of Oasis and Blur. Unfortunately, its grip has become so tight on music that even playful plebs like Liam Gallagher can no longer be relied on to spice up a bland evening.

We used to have charming, funny, controversial dicks in music, now it seems we’re just left with the dicks themselves. None of these acts have any edge, despite 1D saying they may have turned to crime without fame. I’d have quite happily taken a mugging off Harry Styles just as long as I didn’t have to see his boat race on my TV screen. It’s not as bad as it seems folks, there’s plenty of exciting new music out there – you just won’t find it on ITV.

Tom Ingham

Tom Ingham

Music Editor

More Coverage

Party Like Gatsby will see the O2 Ritz turned into a 1920s speakeasy

Party Like Gatsby returns to O2 Ritz after three long years with Soirée Royale – its biggest party yet!

Album review: Maja Lena pushes her musical boundaries on PLUTO

Maja Lena’s winning combination of folk drawing on electronic elements transports us to an imagined planet

Mogwai: “I feel our music, to the music world, is like a Louis Theroux documentary”

The Mancunion talk to Mogwai’s Barry Burns about the band’s 25 year career, spanning powerful live shows and soaring film scores

Pop for a Dying Planet: CMAT shares new single Mayday

A deep dive into the latest track, ‘Mayday’, from Irish singer-songwriter and rising star CMAT

Copyright © The Mancunion
Powered By Spotlight Studios

0161 275 2930  University of Manchester’s Students’ Union, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PR