Time for a change, and it seems not a moment too soon.
The Brit Awards continue to provide seemingly unlimited infatuation amongst the music industry. As this sceptred isle’s sole musical awards ceremony that still garnishes a world wide media audience, it seems not a year goes by where the idea seemed great before it happened only for the organizers, musicians and public to wonder, why do we still bother to do this the morning after.
That less than cryptic and skin crawlingly obvious introduction is, of course, a reference to this past week’s Brit Awards (Sponsored by MasterCard). The apparent “Crowning of Queen Adele” as the be all and end all of music dominated the 32nd edition of the British record industry’s annual awards ceremony.
Her domination of the headlines leading up to the ceremony was nothing short of unexpected. Pictures of her holding a plethora of Grammy’s were paraded around the British press like the second coming as well as stoking rumours of her looming engagement. A diamond the size of Jupiter’s core on her finger paid testimony to the industry’s investigative skills.
Never to be bested by our trans-Atlantic cousins, Adele picked up the hideously ugly new Brit gongs for Best female solo artist and British album of the year (sponsored by MasterCard) for the deliberately maudlin, over dramatized 21. Credit must, however, be shown to the 23 year old, yes 23, for being able to fill a whole 14 month touring schedule singing just the one song and padding the rest out with benign chat even the most loquacious taxi driver would cringe at. The highlight of the show coming when her “speech”, political rallies have been shorter, was prematurely cut off to which the singer flipped the bird. Classy.
The rest of the winners seemed to mix into a huge cauldron of mediocrity that by the end of the three hours, nobody really knew why they turned up. Prince of the Gingers Ed Sheeran matched Adele’s double triumph with Best Male and Breakthrough awards (sponsored by MasterCard), a testimony perhaps to how heartless Adele’s publicity machine is or how terrible his is that this “achievement” went relatively unnoticed. Sheeran thanked his management for making him the musician he is today as without them he would have been “poor, fat and ginger.” Quite.
Coldplay had, of course, their pedestal rammed further up their backsides by receiving Best British Group. Of course not content with merely being rewarded for their obsequious oral odysseys, they dribbled onstage with a live performance best described as mediocre. Fans later agreed it was one of their best shows ever.
There are quite literally more British bands more deserving of such an honour (also sponsored by MasterCard) that there is not enough room in the universe (sponsored by MasterCard) to list them. To still be handing awards to these deliberately grey, bland and ever so charmingly befuddled middle aged men is almost beyond comprehension.
However, some good could possible come out of this award and the others. The dubiousness of this year’s Brits has only served to further highlight the increasing inadequacy and defunct nature of the ceremony. In what has been another sub par offering of both live performances and the nature of winners and even nominations, The Brits have been steadily declining in quality and, as a result, credibility for the almost two decades. Where this year Adele, Sheeran, Coldplay and a plethora of other flashes in the pan dominated, 1995 saw the likes of Paul Weller, Oasis, Blur, Eddi Reader, Prince and KD Lang achieve success.
Always branded as a less than important after thought to the Grammys of course, the Brit Awards were always a much more raucous, jovial affair that smacked of British eccentricity. Where they lacked industry recognition and clout, they made up in quirkiness and character. All this based firmly on recognition of quality artists and material.
The industry has, of course changed; there is no denying that. Technology and its mass consumerism availability have meant that those who stood little or no chance of becoming music stars can now show their wares from the comfort of their own bedroom. But that excuse can only account for so much. The overall presentation and nature of awards dished out at this year’s Brits was of a terrible quality that was, quite frankly, an embarrassment to the British music industry.
From Olly Murs’ off key cat screeching to the parading of James Corden’s obvious lack of live show presenting ability, the whole show was a feast of car crash television. Award ceremonies like this are never meant to be actual recognition of an artist’s work and any act worth their weight in talent would be more concerned about record, ticket and singles sales. However, a duty is still there to be served to the world from these mass media events.
This country has produced some of the biggest, best and genre-defining musicians the world has ever known. We deserve to be represented fairly and with dignity on the world stage. It is only fair, after all, to showcase the very best we have to offer and not the latest in a long, long line of fleeting prima donnas and talentless transients.
A full list of winners and convenient download links can be found at the official page of the awards : http://www.brits.co.uk