This was a piece also written for Bradford Zine – Claptrap which you should all get involved with.
It’s a bit rude and probably pretty pointless, but it was fun.
Oh! Joyous fanfare to a new year! Nay! A new decade!
It’s the time of year for wild hyperbole, for ‘Next Big Things’ and ‘Upcoming Stars’.
As our big label A + R masters wake from their Christmas slumbers, bleary eyed and pissed off about the way this lengthy cold snap has affected their personal supplies of ‘snow’ they stare out into the stagnant, icy high streets and wonder; WHO WILL SAVE US FROM OBLIVION?
Well do not fear. For the BBC, the NME and the plentiful blogs of cyberspace are only a phone call away. They will create such a force of musical Mystic Meg clairvoyance that record label coffers will be full in no time. The BBC Sound of 2010 is top of the pile. A big brown nosed, golden shower of praise and merriment. Don’t give me that ‘it’s good for the music’ bullshit. Like vultures picking at vomit to feed their squawking little chicks, this is desperate dollar grabbing. A self fulfilling prophecy of cash, with barely any thought for actual, you know, musical talent. Still, someone’s got to pay those music journalists / talent scouts wages and help the self-perpetuating circle of futurology, so I’ve concocted a handy guide to six of the top picks which will help you seem like your finger is on the pulse (clue, it’s just past the perineum) without actually having to listen to any of these god awful people. Let the cynicism commence!
Now y’see I like Albert Freeman. I like his excellent radio programme, I like his ready wit, I like his beard, hell, I even like his high visibility vest, but I can’t let his recent comments about my beloved NME go entirely unanswered.
So without prejudice and taking into account the fact I owe him money, I’m going to put forward a case for the defence.
I’m afraid the target of my vitriol is…NME.
The 'legendary' Chuck Berry
A couple of weeks ago NME announced their Top 100 albums of the decade list. It caused me to raise a “Really..?!Â Er…if you say so” eyebrow, but didn’t stir as much emotion in me as it did with Phil Cope, who perspicaciously observed that there list was rather too white.
Since then two other things have happened in NME world that have indeed stirred me to feelÂ more than a little annoyed.
Last week a news item on nme.com announced that “legendary blues guitarist” Chuck Berry had postponing his tour.Â “Legendary f***ing blues guitarist” thought I?!!!Â How ignorant is that?!Â The man pretty much defined rock and roll, writing and performing some of the genre’s greatest songs, and influencing a whole bunch of white kids, including 4 from Liverpool, to write songs of their own.Â Calling him a “legendary blues guitarist” is like calling Kurt Cobain a “legendary heavy metal guitarist” – and I’m sure the uber-cool NME would never be so silly as to do that.Â I actually put a comment on their website saying something similar, but they didn’t publish it.
Now, today NME have declared their 100 favourite tunes of the decade.Â Number 1 is Beyonce.Â “Be-f***ng-yonce..?!” thought I?Â Is she not just a symptom of the decline of American RnB into of artists completely detached from their listeners, and music devoid of meaning?Â Has this not just become the genre of IFMITYWEB (I’m Far More Important Than You Will Ever Be)?Â Maybe I’m missing something though, as several of my friends have today said that Crazy In Love is a good tune.Â I tried listening to it on Spotify but 2 minutes is all I could bear.
At least NME have redressed some of the racial balance after their top albums list.Â But really, I mean 15-20 years ago I used to respect the NME for bringing me news and views of what was happening left-of-centre, and quite frankly I’m shocked at just how far NME has moved from this to a more populist stance.Â I know, even 10 or 20 years ago NME were a bit of a trend chaser, but it has just got silly now.
I’ve not read the NME properly for years.Â I just use their website for a decent source of music news.Â Can anyone suggest another good source of music news so I can leave them well behind me?