It’s become a bit of a yearly ritual for me – celebrating new year, realising how much fatter I’ve gotten over the festive peroid, checking the BBC website to see which copy-cat hopefuls they’re pinning up this year in their annual ‘Sound of…’ competition, in which industry insiders (read: music journos) tell the BBC which bands are going to be ‘big’ in the 12 coming months. Some might say that it’s a bit of a self fufilling prophesy – and that’s because it is. it’s basically Music Journalists telling another music Journalist which bands they are going to be putting on the front of their magazines this year, ensuring they get coverage and thus, become a definitive ‘sound of the year’.
In past years, they’ve decided that Adele, Mika, Corinne Bailey Rae and The Bravery would be the ‘Sound of…’ their respective years. So you can imagine what kind of rubbish they came up with this year. Anyway, seeing as the summer is ending and most of the year is up, I thought I’d give a little review of each ‘artist’, as well as suggesting something else that would be a lot better choice if you’re into that kind of rubbish.
What they said: London synth duo aim to revive the sound of 1984
In reality: Old, broken beats and the ugliest woman alive combine to make a dancable, irritating nails-on-a-chalkboard sound.
If they were compiling this list over at the BBC now, I’m sure that Elly Jackson and her forgettable DJ friend would be higher up this list. As it is, they were predicted to be number five. the fifth most definitive sound of a single year. I’m sure her mother told everyone on the set of The Bill about that. Her songs all sound vaguely similar but the kids see to love them.
Whereas La Roux sounds throwaway and annoying, the Dreijer siblings have always sounded refreshing, innovative and, most importantly, brilliant. La Roux’s beats sound like they have been stolen direct from 1984, which is no good thing – if you lived through the 80’s or, like me, you’ve got a mother who refuses to leave the decade musically and you’ve sat through too many ‘Top 50 Tunes of the Eighties’ VH1 shows, then you’ll know that it may have been a golden age for ‘pop’ music, but it’s best that we leave most of it there. songs like Girls Night Out and, most obviously, Heartbeats, show that The Knife have taken inspiration from the Eighties and moved on. Which is probably for the best.
I can’t believe that people are still trying to get away with this stuff. Honestly, what kind of marketing bullshit means that whenever I’m in vicinity of someone playing Radio 1, I have to listen to this kind of rubbish? At least La Roux makes out like she’s trying – these two have as much artistic credibility of Peter Andre. Actually, that ‘Behind Closed Doors’ song of his is at least worth listening to for a good cringe.
I was a Cubscout are another twosome who make slightly camp music. they’ve split up now, which was most likely a good decision- there’s no way they could’ve kept the twee levels up for another album without completely losing it. I’ll admit, it might be a bit too much for some people – ‘I hate nightclubs’ was so sickly sweet that it can rot yr teeth just through listening to it. If that’s too much for you, you can just stick to The Shins. Everybody likes The Shins, whether they want to or not. I tried fighting against it for a year, until ‘New Slang’ caught me by suprise one day. I’m not even sure how much these two sound like Empire of the Sun, as I don’t want to go back and listen to those two Australian wankers at any cost.
I’d have loved this when I was 17. Back then I would happily lap up any kind of quicky indie-pop I could get. In fact, I still do, but maybe i just don’t like Florence’s face. Either way, Kiss with a Fist makes me angry, which is the strongest reaction she’s ever had from her bland, bland pop.
I am always looking for an excuse to namedrop Lucky Lucky Pigeons. I overheard them one day whilst waiting for a forward, russia documentary on Lamacq live, and they genuinely gave me hope that all small, unrecognised bands are not completely useless. They make sweet pop once again, and their similarity to ‘Florence’ certainly would never be enough for last.fm to compare them, but nevermind. I’m pretty sure they’ve split up now as nobody gave a fuck about them, as proven by this video of them playing at some swedish festival where people actually go and chat in front of the stage. Oh dear. Still, awesome quirk-pop.
This band have absolutely nothing about them. They have no tunes, no decent lyrics but, more importantly, they seem to have a lot of airplay. I won’t begrudge them that – people actually seem to like them. Maybe it’s been so long since the last Interpol album that people have forgotten what a decent, slightly downbeat band sound like.
Essentially the same thing. If you’ve never listened to Interpol start now. Just leave here, get your hands on their three albums and enjoy. they were once on a ‘Sound of…’ list themselves, which just shows that it’s not all terrible. They were forth though, which shows what happens to real talent in the music industry. And julian plenti, as you may have read the other day, is essentially just Paul Banks from Interpol doing a passable impression of his main source of income.
Possibly the one on the list that I hate the least. I thought that she’d sunk into obscurity until I saw adverts for her album on TV and realised I’d heard all of her music on… other adverts. Okay background music, nothing that you haven’t heard before in every generic club you can think of.
I cannot overestimate the amount of influence The Knife have had one this years crop of musicians, whether directly or not. I could’ve put them down as the alternative for pretty much every one of the other entries on this little retrospective very easily. But instead of fobbing you off with a lazy comparison, I’m going to throw in some Peaches as well, just because ‘Fuck the pain away’ never ever gets old.
I should have done this back in January, but I actually had stuff to do then. Sorry. I hope you’ve enjoyed this. I tried not to be too hateful, and I know that pretty much none of the bands are a ‘sound’ of this year, but your year will be a lot better if you’re listening to any of the alternatives instead of the rubbish that the BBC ‘Sound of…’ competition threw up.