Chart for stowaways – 28 July 2018

Here’s the latest album chart:

  1. The Radiophonic Workshop – Burials in Several Earths
  2. The Future Sound of London – My Kingdom (Re-Imagined)
  3. The Human League – Secrets
  4. Goldfrapp – Silver Eye
  5. Sparks – Hippopotamus
  6. Gorillaz – The Now Now
  7. Jon Hopkins – Singularity
  8. Kylie Minogue – Golden
  9. Chvrches – Love Is Dead
  10. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – The Punishment of Luxury

NME Award Winners 1994-2018 (Part One)

The final step we need to take with the NME Awards is to summarise all the winners in one single, easy-to-digest place. So, continuing with the part one of two-part NME Poll Winners 1952-1992, let’s do that!

Best and Worst Single, Video and Album Categories

Here are all the winners for specific singles, videos, albums, films, and books!

Best Single / Track

  • 1994 – Radiohead – Creep
  • 1995 – Oasis – Live Forever (Best Single), Blur – Girls and Boys (NME Single of the Year)
  • 1996 – Oasis – Wonderwall (Best Single), Black Grape – Reverend Black Grape (NME Single of the Year)
  • 1997 – Manic Street Preachers – A Design for Life (Best Single), Underworld – Born Slippy (NME Single of the Year)
  • 1998 – The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony
  • 1999 – Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
  • 2000 – Blur – Tender (Best Single), Aphex Twin – Windowlicker (NME Single of the Year)
  • 2001 – Coldplay – Yellow
  • 2002 – Ash – Burn Baby Burn
  • 2003 – The Vines – Get Free (Best Single), Doves – There Goes the Fear (NME Single of the Year)
  • 2004 – The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army
  • 2005 – Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out
  • 2006 – Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
  • 2007 – The View – Wasted Little DJs
  • 2008 – Arctic Monkeys – Fluorescent Adolescent
  • 2009 – MGMT – Time to Pretend
  • 2010 – The Big Pink – Dominos
  • 2011 – Foals – Spanish Sahara
  • 2012 – Florence + the Machine – Shake it Out
  • 2013 – Foals – Inhaler
  • 2014 – Disclosure – White Noise
  • 2015 – Jamie T – Zombie
  • 2016 – Wolf Alice – Giant Peach
  • 2017 – Christine and the Queens – Tilted
  • 2018 – Charli XCX – Boys

Best Single Ever

  • 2000 – Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

Best Dance Single / Dancefloor filler / Anthem

  • 1998 – The Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up
  • 1999 – Fatboy Slim – The Rockafeller Skank
  • 2008 – The Wombats – Let’s Dance to Joy Division
  • 2009 – Dizzee Rascal and Calvin Harris – Dance Wiv Me
  • 2010 – La Roux – In for the Kill (Skream Remix)
  • 2011 – Professor Green – Jungle
  • 2012 – Katy B – Broken Record
  • 2013 – Calvin Harris feat. Florence Welch – Sweet Nothing
  • 2015 – Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX – Fancy

Worst Single

  • 1994 – Meat Loaf – I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)
  • 1995 – Whigfield – Saturday Night
  • 1996 – Robson Green and Jerome Flynn – I Believe
  • 1997 – Spice Girls – Wannabe
  • 1998 – Aqua – Barbie Girl
  • 1999 – Billie Piper – Because We Want To
  • 2000 – The Vengaboys – We’re Going to Ibiza
  • 2003 – Robbie Williams – Feel
  • 2004 – Fast Food Rockers – Fast Food Song

Best Music Video

  • 1995 – Blur – Parklife
  • 1996 – Pulp – Common People
  • 1997 – The Prodigy – Firestarter
  • 1998 – The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony
  • 1999 – Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
  • 2000 – Blur – Coffee and TV
  • 2002 – Radiohead – Pyramid Song
  • 2003 – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Whatever Happened to My Rock and Roll (Punk Song)
  • 2004 – Radiohead – There There
  • 2005 – Green Day – American Idiot
  • 2006 – Oasis – The Importance of Being Idle
  • 2007 – The Killers – Bones
  • 2008 – Arctic Monkeys – Teddy Picker
  • 2009 – The Last Shadow Puppets – My Mistakes Were Made for You
  • 2010 – Biffy Clyro – The Captain
  • 2011 – My Chemical Romance – Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)
  • 2012 – Hurts – Sunday
  • 2013 – Arctic Monkeys – R U Mine?
  • 2014 – Eagulls – Nerve Endings
  • 2015 – Jamie T – Zombie
  • 2016 – Slaves – Cheer Up London
  • 2017 – Slaves – Consume or Be Consumed
  • 2018 – The Big Moon – Sucker

Best Album / LP

  • 1994 – The Boo Radleys – Giant Steps
  • 1995 – Blur – Parklife (Best Album), Oasis – Definitely Maybe (NME Album of the Year)
  • 1996 – Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (Best Album), Tricky – Maxinquaye (NME Album of the Year)
  • 1997 – Manic Street Preachers – Everything Must Go (Best Album), Beck – Odelay (NME Album of the Year)
  • 1998 – Radiohead – OK Computer
  • 1999 – Manic Street Preachers – This is My Truth, Tell Me Yours
  • 2000 – The Flaming Lips – The Soft Bulletin (Best Album and NME Album of the Year)
  • 2001 – Primal Scream – XTRMNTR
  • 2002 – The Strokes – This is It
  • 2003 – Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head (Best Album and NME Album of the Year)
  • 2004 – Radiohead – Hail to the Thief
  • 2005 – Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
  • 2006 – Kaiser Chiefs – Employment
  • 2007 – Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
  • 2008 – Klaxons – Myths of the Near Future
  • 2009 – Kings of Leon – Only by the Night
  • 2010 – Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
  • 2011 – Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
  • 2012 – The Horrors – Skying
  • 2013 – The Maccabees – Given to the Wild
  • 2014 – Arctic Monkeys – AM
  • 2015 – Kasabian – 48:13
  • 2016 – Foals – What Went Down
  • 2017 – Bastille – Wild World
  • 2018 – J Hus – Common Sense

Best Album Ever

  • 2000 – The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses

Worst Album

  • 2003 – Robbie Williams – Escapology
  • 2005 – Insane Clown Posse – Carnival of Carnage
  • 2006 – James Blunt – Back to Bedlam
  • 2007 – Robbie Williams – Rudebox
  • 2008 – Britney Spears – Blackout
  • 2009 – Jonas Brothers – A Little Bit Longer
  • 2010 – Jonas Brothers – Lines, Vines, and Trying Times
  • 2011 – Justin Bieber – My World
  • 2012 – Justin Bieber – Under the Mistletoe

Best Album Artwork

  • 2004 – Radiohead – Hail to the Thief
  • 2008 – The Good, The Bad & The Queen – The Good, The Bad & The Queen
  • 2009 – Muse – HAARP
  • 2010 – Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
  • 2011 – Klaxons – Surfing the Void
  • 2012 – Friendly Fires – Pala

Best Reissue

  • 2012 – The Smiths – The Complete Re-issues
  • 2013 – Blur – 21
  • 2014 – The Clash – Sound System
  • 2015 – Manic Street Preachers – The Holy Bible
  • 2016 – David Bowie – Five Years (1969-1973)
  • 2017 – Oasis – Be Here Now
  • 2018 – Radiohead – OK NOT OK

Best DVD / Best Music DVD / Best Music Film

  • 2005 – Oasis – Definitely Maybe
  • 2006 – Various Artists – Live 8
  • 2007 – Arctic Monkeys – Scrummy Man
  • 2008 – Nirvana – MTV Unplugged in New York
  • 2009 – Arctic Monkeys – Live at the Apollo
  • 2010 – The Mighty Boosh Live – Future Sailors Tour
  • 2012 – Foo Fighters – Back and Forth
  • 2013 – The Rolling Stones – Crossfire Hurricane
  • 2014 – The Stone Roses – Made of Stone
  • 2015 – Pulp – A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets
  • 2016 – Blur – New World Towers
  • 2017 – Oasis – Supersonic
  • 2018 – Lady Gaga – Five Foot Two

Best Mixtape

  • 2018 – Avelino – No Bullshit

Best Book

  • 2011 – John Lydon – Mr. Rotten’s Scrapbook
  • 2012 – Noel Fielding – The Scribblings of a Madcap Shambleton
  • 2013 – Mike Skinner – The Story of the Streets
  • 2014 – Morrissey – Autobiography
  • 2015 – Viv Albertine – Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys
  • 2016 – Patti Smith – M Train
  • 2017 – Johnny Marr – Set the Boy Free
  • 2018 – Wiley – Eskiboy

Media Categories

The group of media awards, for radio, TV, films, and venues.

Best Radio Show

  • 1994 – John Peel (BBC Radio 1)
  • 1996-1997 – The Evening Session (BBC Radio 1)
  • 1998-1999 – Mark and Lard (BBC Radio 1)
  • 2000-2002 – The Evening Session (BBC Radio 1)
  • 2003 – The Evening Session / Lamacq Live (BBC Radio 1)
  • 2005-2008 – Zane Lowe (BBC Radio 1)

Best TV Show

  • 1995 – Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge
  • 1996-1998 – Shooting Stars
  • 1999 – South Park
  • 2000 – The Royle Family
  • 2001 – The League of Gentlemen
  • 2002 – The Office
  • 2003 – The Osbournes
  • 2004 – The Office
  • 2005 – Little Britain
  • 2006 – Gonzo
  • 2007-2009 – The Mighty Boosh
  • 2010 – The Inbetweeners
  • 2011 – Skins
  • 2012-2013 – Fresh Meat
  • 2014 – Breaking Bad
  • 2015 – Game of Thrones
  • 2016 – This is England ’90
  • 2017 – Fleabag
  • 2018 – Stranger Things

Worst TV Show

  • 2009 – Big Brother

Best Film

  • 1994 – Reservoir Dogs
  • 1995 – Pulp Fiction
  • 1996 – The Usual Suspects
  • 1997 – Trainspotting
  • 1998 – The Full Monty
  • 1999 – Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
  • 2000 – The Blair Witch Project
  • 2001 – Gladiator
  • 2002 – Moulin Rouge
  • 2004 – The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King
  • 2005 – Shaun of the Dead
  • 2006 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • 2007 – Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest
  • 2008 – Control
  • 2010 – Inglourious Basterds
  • 2011 – Inception
  • 2012 – Submarine
  • 2013 – The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey
  • 2015 – Northern Soul
  • 2016 – Beasts of No Nation
  • 2017 – My Scientology Movie
  • 2018 – Baby Driver

Best Website

  • 2000 – NME
  • 2003 – NME
  • 2004 – NME
  • 2005 – NME
  • 2006 – NME
  • 2007 – YouTube
  • 2008 – Facebook
  • 2009 – YouTube
  • 2010 – Muse

Best Band Blog / Twitter / Social Media

  • 2008 – The Modern Age (Best Music Blog), Radiohead (Best Band Blog)
  • 2009 – Noel Gallagher / Oasis
  • 2010 – Radiohead
  • 2011 – Hayley Williams
  • 2012 – Lady Gaga
  • 2013 – Alana Haim
  • 2014 – Alana Haim
  • 2015 – Liam Gallagher

People Categories

Continuing the odd and eclectic categories from 1954-1992, the NME Awards still give slightly odd awards out to individuals.

Genius/HERO of the Year

  • 2000 – Ali G
  • 2001 – Liam Gallagher
  • 2003 – Ozzy Osbourne
  • 2004 – Pete Doherty
  • 2005 – John Peel
  • 2006 – Bob Geldof
  • 2007 – Gerard Way
  • 2008 – Pete Doherty
  • 2009 – Barack Obama
  • 2010 – Rage Against the Machine
  • 2011 – Lady Gaga
  • 2012 – Matt Bellamy
  • 2013 – Barack Obama
  • 2014-2015 – Alex Turner
  • 2016 – Dave Grohl
  • 2017 – Beyoncé
  • 2018 – Ariana Grande

Bastard/Git/Arse/Dickhead/Waster/Villain of the Year

  • 1994 – John Major
  • 1996 – Damon Albarn
  • 1997-1999 – Liam Gallagher
  • 2000, 2001, 2003 – Robbie Williams
  • 2004 – George W. Bush, (Villain of the Year), Pete Doherty (Waster of the Year)
  • 2005-2009 – George W. Bush
  • 2010 – Kanye West
  • 2011 – David Cameron
  • 2012 – Justin Bieber
  • 2013-2014 – Harry Styles
  • 2015 – Nigel Farage
  • 2016 – Donald Trump
  • 2017 – Nigel Farage
  • 2018 – Piers Morgan

Best Dressed / Most Stylish

  • 1996 – Jarvis Cocker
  • 2003 – The Hives
  • 2005 – Brandon Flowers
  • 2006 – Ricky Wilson
  • 2007 – Faris Rotter
  • 2008 – Noel Fielding
  • 2009 – Alexa Chung
  • 2010 – Lady Gaga
  • 2011 – Brandon Flowers

Worst Dressed / Least Stylish

  • 1996 – Jarvis Cocker
  • 1997 – Liam Gallagher
  • 2003 – Christina Aguilera
  • 2005 – Jonathan Ross
  • 2006 – Justin Hawkins
  • 2007 – Jonathan Ross
  • 2008-2009 – Amy Winehouse
  • 2010 – Lady Gaga
  • 2011 – Justin Bieber

Best Comedian

  • 1995-1996 – Steve Coogan

Political and Real World Categories

Continuing some of the odder categories from the earlier NME Polls. For clarity, I’ve separated the “live” events from the other “musical” events, although I think the award category was sometimes the same.

Musical Moment / Event of the Year

  • 1996 – Skinner, Baddiel and The Lightning Seeds – Three Lions
  • 2012 – The Stone Roses reunite
  • 2013 – Olympics opening ceremony
  • 2014 – Noel Gallagher and Damon Albarn come together for Teenage Cancer Trust
  • 2015 – Jamie T’s comeback
  • 2016 – The Libertines’ secret Glastonbury set
  • 2017 – Coldplay’s Viola Beach tribute at Glastonbury
  • 2018 – One Love Manchester

Greatest Musical Event Ever

  • 2000 – Woodstock

Non-Musical Event of the Year

  • 1994 – Unity March
  • 1995 – Glastonbury Festival
  • 1996 – French Nuclear Testing

Bummer / Disappointment

  • 1995 – Kurt Cobain’s Suicide
  • 1997 – The Stone Roses breaking up

Hype of the Year

  • 1994 – Jurassic Park

Object of Desire / Most Desirable / Hottest / Sexiest Woman

  • 1994 – Björk (Object of Desire)
  • 1995 – Kylie Minogue (Object of Desire)
  • 1997 – Louise (Most Desirable Human Being)
  • 1998 – Louise (Most Desirable Human Being)
  • 1999 – Natalie Imbruglia (Most Desirable Human Being)
  • 2003 – Avril Lavigne
  • 2004 – Brody Dalle
  • 2005 – Barbara Knox
  • 2006 – Madonna
  • 2007 – Kate Moss
  • 2008 – Kylie Minogue
  • 2009 – Hayley Williams
  • 2010 – Karen O
  • 2011 – Alison Mosshart
  • 2012 – Hayley Williams
  • 2013 – Amy Lee

Most Desirable / Hottest / Sexiest Man

  • 1996 – Liam Gallagher (Most Desirable Human Being)
  • 2003 – Chris Martin
  • 2004 – Har Mar Superstar
  • 2005 – Brandon Flowers
  • 2006 – Pete Doherty
  • 2007 – Matt Bellamy
  • 2008 – Noel Fielding
  • 2009-2011 – Matt Bellamy
  • 2012 – Jared Leto
  • 2013 – Matt Bellamy

Best Haircut

  • 2003 – Liam Gallagher
  • 2004 – Caleb Followill

Worst Haircut

  • 2003 – Jack Osbourne

Join us again next week, when we’ll finish this list off!

My Robot Friend – Hot Action!

My Robot Friend was already a couple of years into his career before I accidentally found the original 2002 version of his debut album Hot Action! on sale in a record fair, and by this time I was already aware of some of his better known tracks. Having started out as a MySpace musician, he seems to have made a name for himself by making excellent, eccentric music, and not a lot else.

The album opens with the beatsy and somewhat intimidating I Am the Robot, and if you can handle its energy, you’ll quickly realise that it’s actually fantastic. Then Sex Machine will always have a special place in my heart, thanks to its inclusion on the brilliant Robopop Vol. 1 compilation (which I should definitely review here at some point). It’s a little more vulgar than I normally like my music to be, but it’s another brilliant track.

There’s little here that’s longer than three minutes, and so the great tracks come flying. You’re Out of the Computer tells the story of an angry hacker who has a grudge to bear against a rival. One general theme on this album is very eccentric samples, and the dog barks used as thwacky snares at times on this track are particularly brilliant.

Why Won’t You Call Me Back? is probably one of the more normal tracks on here, but it still hides some very odd lyrics, lots of telephone noises, and a whole load of other things in amongst the acid noises and guitar work. OK, this is every bit as odd as everything else.

However used you might be, five tracks in, to the unexpected samples, there’s very little that could prepare you for the table tennis percussion of The Power of Love. It’s quite fantastic, and there’s really no point in any further discussion on the matter.

After the sudden end of that track, anything could happen. But there’s no way you would ever expect the soft synth pads of the amazing We’re the Pet Shop Boys. It was so good, so accurate, that not only Pet Shop Boys themselves covered it the following year, but also Robbie Williams covered it on his Rudebox album. It’s completely spot on – every sound, melody, and lyric seems to have been designed to directly reference something that Pet Shop Boys themselves did. It’s not a pastiche; it’s a carefully crafted and perfect homage, that reaches its pinnacle in the middle section, in which Mr. Robot Friend holds his nose to make himself sound a bit more like Neil Tennant, and lists some of Pet Shop Boys‘ hits.

Really, anything was going to be a disappointment after that – those first six tracks seem to have been fighting one another to out-bizarre each other, and that had to reach its pinnacle by the halfway point on the album. Sure enough, Understand Your Man is a bit dull, which I suspect would have been true at any position on the album, but it’s particularly true here.

The good stuff is far from over, though – The Fake tones down some of the oddness but makes up for it by being a great song, and then I Know What Women Want brings it back and builds a whole song around very silly samples and acid noises. But it’s the lyrics that are truly brilliant here – “I know what women want; I decide what women want” is clever stuff.

But there are a lot of tracks on here, and after the onslaught at the start, there was bound to be a bit of a period where they didn’t quite hit as hard. For me, this is the trio of Boing!Way Down, and Walking Jewish, none of which seem entirely necessary on here, really. They’re mercifully short, but they don’t seem to add much.

But the thing about My Robot Friend is that he always seems to have one more surprise up his sleeve, and sure enough, Walt Whitman is brilliant. It’s not a typical closing track, by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a great song, and I’m glad to see it tacked on here, closing out this exceptional debut.

None of the physical formats of Hot Action! appear to be available any more, but the digital release does get you some extra tracks, which may be worth having.

Chart for stowaways – 21 July 2018

These are the top singles this week:

  1. The Future Sound of London – My Kingdom
  2. The Radiophonic Workshop – Burials in Several Earths
  3. Ladytron – The Animals
  4. Tiefschwarz – Never
  5. Tiësto / Dzeko / Preme / Post Malone – Jackie Chan
  6. Erasure – Still It’s Not Over
  7. The Radiophonic Workshop – Things Buried in Water
  8. The Future Sound of London – Collapsed Structures
  9. Tracey Thorn – Dancefloor
  10. Baddiel / Skinner / Lightning Seeds – 3 Lions

The death of fades

I know it’s a bit old itself now, but I found this article recently, and read it with interest. If you can’t be bothered reading it in full right now, the gist is that songs that fade out peaked in the US chart in 1984, and have been disappearing ever since, hitting zero for two years running in 2011 and 2012, for the first time in over fifty years. If you’ll pardon the obvious pun, they seem to have literally faded away.

What’s particularly interesting about this is that in the 1990s, when fadeouts were everywhere, it always seemed a bit lazy to me, as though artists couldn’t really be bothered working out how to end their songs. I was wrong, of course – a fade is every bit as much of an artistic decision as a snare sound or guitar effect. Billboard wrote a lengthy, and interesting analysis of how fades work, as did NPR, and others seem to have concluded much the same – it’s very much part of the song (look for Survey 845 here). The AV Club go further, suggesting that abrupt endings are just plain wrong in pop music.

But they were pretty much omnipresent, and to have lost them is a tragedy indeed. So what happened, exactly? The Slate article above blames twitchy iPod fingers and millennial attention spans, which seems fair.

It’s perhaps slightly surprising that this hasn’t raised more attention – issues this big tend to hit all the major news channels, but apparently nobody cares about the loss of fadeouts. The fact that there are academic papers on the matter is a relief, though.

Songs that fade in, of course, are another matter entirely…

You can watch an interesting analysis of the problem via Vox below: