For my Lent music commitment this year, I thought I’d start with an unbridled rant about the disaster that was last night’s Brits.
There were good parts, though. Standout performances for me were from Rihanna making slouchy loungewear glamourous, and Bruno Mars bearing a more than passing resemblance to a young soulful Michael Jackson. And the obligatory Adele fawning goes here, naturally.
Where to begin with what went wrong? Well, the host for one thing. James Corden is what is known in some circles as a ‘comedian’, but the last time I found him genuinely funny was in a Children in Need sketch a few years back. At the Brits his job was to be rude to his female co-presenter, present a rushed and bizarre tribute to Whitney Houston for the short on attention span, and make wholly original jibes about X Factor graduates, and embryonic Take That of manufactured pop, Wand Erection and how young they are. Since that’s not been done a billion times before. In fact, the only way they could have gone downhill would have been to rehire Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood from That Brit Awards About Which They Never Speak. This one, in fact.
Ed Sheeran was another fly in the award ointment. I gather he’s a big hit at the moment, writing cheery guitar dribblings about girls who prostitute themselves for crack (yes, really. I was hoping The A Team was going to be about BA Baracus and co, but I was let down.). But when the other half and I went to Latitude, just before he hit the big time, we stumbled upon him ‘singing’ before Paloma Faith was coming on. We couldn’t make out much over the girls screaming, but, squinting at the stage, we could just about make out a spotty ginger kid rapping in the worst white middle-class way imaginable. It turns out he was performing his hit ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’- The Sheeran in action.
See, I’m true, my songs are where my heart is
I’m like glue, I stick to other artists
I’m not you, now that would be disastrous
Let me sing and do my thing and move to greener pastures
See, I’m real, I do it all, it’s all me
I’m not fake, don’t ever call me lazy
I won’t stay put, give me the chance to be free
Suffolk sadly seems to sort of suffocate me
If you think that’s bad, the couplet ‘I sing fast, I know that all my shit’s cool/I will blast and I didn’t go to BRIT School’ had me doubled up in artistic pain. Not to mention the bit about waxing his ginger hair (The full horror here.). When he accepted one of the awards he inexplicably won, he announced ‘I’d like to thank those people that took me from a chubby spotty ginger kid, to where I am today’. A chubby, spotty, ginger kid with no talent whatsoever. I’d like to remind readers of Robbie Williams, fat white man from Stoke, in his rapping phase on ‘Rudebox’. NEVER FORGET. MY EYES AND EARS ARE BLEEDING
Lana Del Rey’s in no way overhyped rise to fame was also honoured with a gaudily-painted figurine. Worryingly, the first thing that sprang to mind as she tried to float ethereally up on stage, Goldfrapp-style, was of a sex doll having broken free of its air pump, sailing off with Botoxed mouth agape and fixed vacant/dreamy expression. I’ve seen children’s dolls that cried more realistically than Del Rey. Please, someone, deflate her.
With the Critic’s Choice, I was somewhat conflicted. Emile Sandé is undoubtedly talented, but why did I feel I was having flashbacks to Sheena Easton’s less than triumphal homecoming to Scotland, bereft as she was of any genuinely local accent? It’s great to be home Scawtlaaaaanndddd! As it is, it’s a great pity they didn’t let her perform or do a speech, relegating her instead to the behind the scenes show beforehand, where she did a sparkling acoustic version of Next To Me.
Having the show broadcast live is always going to be fraught with timing issues, but the way Adele’s speech was cut short was incredibly unprofessionally done. In particular, the way they gave her a tiny sliver of time to thank her fans, but 12 minutes to the closing set by Blur, is sad. I’d have paid to see Adele sing a few more of her hits than the drunken dad karaoke disaster that closed the ceremony. Everything from the tuneless Ian Brown-esque howling, to the lack of audience participation, to Albarn’s evident discomfort with having to wear the fake gor-blimey-guvnor Cockney mantle of the Park Life days, made me dread their impending Olympics appearance. It even make me pick up my bass, which I’ve not done for months, and crack out the Girls and Boys bassline significantly better than gurning Cotswolds cheese-botherer Alex James. (Sorry Alex. You were good on the album, though! I’m sure your cheese is nice!)
Ah well. The 90s were good really, weren’t they? Come back KLF, all is forgiven…