Culture Clash: Are the Brit Awards overrated?

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Once upon a time – when I was about ten – I used to watch the Brit Awards. At the time my favourite band was Coldplay and my second favourite band was Keane, so you can see that I didn’t really have an ‘eclectic taste’ in music, so to speak. It was a while until I started to realise that – perhaps – I had been wrong as to what good music actually was. I suddenly realised that I only listened to music that my mum had told me was good, so when my mum started listening to Mika and my world collapsed around me. I started to think that maybe my dear mother was not an authority on music or culture. But I am not that person anymore. In many ways, I really hate that person. I hate his music taste, his politics, and his face. I hate everything about him. But one thing I hate more than anything else -even more than his Velcro Kappa trainers – is his love of the Brit Awards.

As celebrations of British culture go it’s on a par with The Chelsea Flower Show… if the only competitors were allotments. Ultimately, a good allotment serves a purpose, but it isn’t something of any particular interest to anyone, it’s boring and not really something to boast about. The Brit Awards is so dull, but on top of that it suggests that the exploitation and display of weak minded individuals on television every weekend is a good thing. Of course what I mean by that is that three of the nominations in the Best British Single category were spawned live on The X Factor. I struggle to condone a culture where The X Factor has produced anything that Britain can be ‘proud of’.

But for me, the main issue with the awards is that the bands in the ‘Best Band’ category have been around longer than most of the other nominees have been alive. Even if Kasabian were the best thing in the world (which they are not) they should not win the award for British Group in 2012 fifteen years after they first formed. Elbow have been together for twenty two years and Coldplay for sixteen. In total the five bands nominated have notched up seventy two years of experience. Is that something to take pride in? Is that a real reflection of the stagnant British music scene? Is the fact that the youngest band to stand a chance of being named the best in Britain has been together for nine years a good thing? Seeing the same bands up there every single year is just depressing. Surely by now it’s starting to become a bit repetitive?

Not for a second am I suggesting that none of the acts nominated are at all talented – but just as my taste has undergone a huge transformation over the last decade, so have the tastes of the majority of British music fans. I also find myself questioning the integrity of an awards show were the award for an Outstanding Contribution to Music goes to Blur, a band who have been around just one year longer than Elbow who are nominated as a Best Group. It seems to me that if that can happen without anyone questioning it The Brit Awards have become completely stagnant and thus require quite a major shake-up if the pride in British music is to be restored.

By Ed McConnell

I’ve followed the Brits since I was a kid; it was always my favourite award show as it gave me chance to see artists I listened to be awarded for their music. If there was a dictionary definition for the Brits it would state that it is an award show to celebrate the best in British music, whilst also honouring some of the best international acts. However, for years the Brits has been about celebrating the mainstream chart music. This fact has turned many music fans away who would prefer a more credible award show, but not me.

The Brits nominees may be a list of the acts who have hit the number one spot over the last year, but 2011 saw some of the best British music in recent years. Ed Sheeran has a massive four nominations and is likely to walk away with most of them. Adele and Jessie J have both had a successful year have previous wins with the Critic’s Choice award and look to be within a chance of cleaning up in 2012.

This year’s Critic’s Choice category has Emeli Sandé at number one for winning the award, and so yet again the Brits predict the following year in musical success terms. Critic’s Choice award history has seen Adele, Florence + The Machine, Ellie Goulding and Jessie J win the award and go on to have huge success. Sandé has already made a name for herself in 2011 working with Professor Green on ‘Read All About It’ and with the release of ‘Heaven’, and 2012 looks to be an even bigger year for the Scottish artist.

You couldn’t go anywhere in 2011 without hearing Ed Sheeran’s ‘The A Team’, Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ or anything by Jessie J. All three of these acts are up for British Single and the only acts worthy of winning the category. Although, British Single being a category voted for by the public I recommend everyone braces themselves for a One Direction win.

The nominations and ultimate winners, however, are not what make the Brits so great. It is the performances, such as the legendary duets. Every year there is one stand out performance that makes everyone wish they were there on the night, such as Adele in 2011 emotively singing ‘Someone Like You’ and Florence + The Machine working with Dizzee Rascal to bring us ‘You’ve Got The Dirtee Love’ in 2010. Let’s not forget the yearly medleys provided by the Outstanding Contribution to Music winners. I personally cannot wait for the Brits 2012 to see Blur perform their medley; I just hope we have a host as good as Peter Kay was in 2010.

By Charli Stevenson

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