Q Awards 2019

I’m still reeling from the news that Q Magazine is no longer with us, but it seems a fair assumption that the Q Awards probably won’t happen again any time soon. Tickets are still on sale for the event on 14th October 2020, at an eye-watering £999 per person, so let’s hope I’m wrong about that, but either way, I never got around to summarising last Autumn’s Q Awards ceremony, so let’s jump onto it now.

The 2019 event took place at N on N, and were presented by Nadine Shah.

Q Best Breakthrough Act Presented by Red Stripe

Nominees:

  • Lewis Capaldi
  • Gerry Cinnamon
  • Easy Life
  • Sam Fender
  • Fontaines DC
  • Little Simz
  • Pale Waves
  • Rosalía
  • Self Esteem
  • Slowthai
  • AJ Tracey
  • Working Men’s Club

Winner: Pale Waves

Q Best Track Presented by Absolute Radio

Nominees:

  • Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved
  • Billie Eilish – Bad Guy
  • FKA Twigs – Cellophane
  • JARV IS – Must I Evolve
  • Lizzo – Juice
  • Róisín Murphy – Incapable
  • The 1975 – People
  • AJ Tracey – Ladbroke Grove
  • Stormzy – Vossi Bop
  • Vampire Weekend – Harmony Hall

Winner: Lewis Capaldi

Q Best Album

Nominees:

  • Dave – Psychodrama
  • Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell
  • Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
  • Fat White Family – Serfs Up
  • Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost (Part 1)
  • Little Simz – Grey Area
  • The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships
  • Sleaford Mods – Eton Alive
  • Slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain
  • Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow

Winner: Foals

Q Best Live Performance Presented by The Cavern Club

Nominees:

  • The Courteeners – Heaton Park
  • Doves – TCT at Royal Albert Hall
  • Florence & The Machine – BST Hyde Park
  • Ariana Grande – The O2
  • Michael Kiwanuka – End of the Road
  • The 1975 – Reading Festival
  • Stormzy – Glastonbury
  • The Streets – Brixton Academy
  • The Strokes – All Points East
  • Neil Young & Bob Dylan – BST Hyde Park

Winner: Michael Kiwanuka

Q Best Solo Act

Nominees:

  • Lewis Capaldi
  • Loyle Carner
  • Dave
  • Billie Eilish
  • Liam Gallagher
  • Aldous Harding
  • Kano
  • Stormzy
  • Kate Tempest
  • Florence Welch

Winner: Stormzy

Q Best Act In The World Today Presented by Rocksteady Music School

Nominees:

  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Christine and the Queens
  • Biffy Clyro
  • Lana Del Rey
  • Billie Eilish
  • Florence And The Machine
  • Liam Gallagher
  • The 1975
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Stormzy

Winner: The 1975

Q Best Festival/Event

Nominees:

  • All Points East
  • British Summer Time
  • Glastonbury
  • Isle of Wight Festival
  • Latitude
  • Reading and Leeds Festival

Winner: All Points East

Q Innovation In Sound

Winner: Dizzie Rascal

Q Classic Album

Winner: Tricky, for Maxinquaye

Q Maverick Presented by The Roundhouse

Winner: Edwyn Collins

Fender Play Award

Winner: Anna Calvi

Q Outstanding Contribution To Music

Winner: Kano

Q Classic Songwriter

Winner: Kevin Rowland

Q Inspiration

Winner: Madness

Q Icon Presented by Raymond Weil

Winner: Christine and the Queens

Q Hero

Winner: Kim Gordon

Q Song Of The Decade

Winner: Lana Del Rey, for Video Games

Q Best Vocal Performance

Winner: Little Simz

Pet Shop Boys – Stuart Price Trilogy

When Pet Shop Boys reappeared with Electric in 2013, it was the shortest gap between albums in their career. Despite that, it seemed like a new beginning – leaving their former career-long label Parlophone and starting afresh with their own label, their comeback took place just nine months after its predecessor. Even the artwork seemed fresher, younger, and more modern.

There is, as many people have said before me, nothing new under the sun. With Elysium (2012), there had been a clear attempt to revitalise the lush beauty of Behaviour (1990), and so one way of looking at Electric would be that it was ostensibly an attempt to revisit Introspective (1988). Finding new form by revisiting the past isn’t anything new either.

Maybe part of the reason for the freshness in their new sound was the collaboration with Stuart Price, the electro-dance genius behind Les Rythmes Digitales, and so it was welcome news shortly after Electric appeared that this would be a trilogy. Trilogies are not, of course, something that Pet Shop Boys do. They never even really worked with the same producer more than once or twice, until now.

Either way, Electric was great – maybe you don’t agree that it was flawless, but at least it sounded fresh and different. The tracks were long, and breaking the mould of the last couple of decades, there weren’t twelve of them on the album – there were only nine. There was Thursday, a beautifully epic weekend piece with Example as a guest vocalist, and there was even a cover of a Bruce Springsteen track.

Three years would pass before the follow-up, and what’s interesting listening to Super (2016) is just how good it is. I think I realised that when it first came out, but fell out of love with it for a while. Somehow it felt like a pale imitation of Electric, but that’s not fair – if the first album was the underground dance entry in the trilogy, then this is the synthpop one, but that doesn’t mean it’s vacuous. In retrospect, our expectations were probably just a bit raised after Electric. The pop kids is a fabulous lead single, and Twenty-something typically incisive.

Creativity takes time sometimes, and so the third entry in the series, Hotspot, took another four years to appear, finally turning up in early 2020. I haven’t reviewed it yet here, mainly because I don’t think I’ve really digested it yet. It has many of the signature sounds of the previous pair, but it’s really the odd one out in many ways – this is the concept album in the series. For the most part, it’s Pet Shop Boys‘ ode to Berlin, and as I’ll probably explain when I do get around to reviewing it, that makes it very special to me. But then you suddenly get Burning the heather, a song that seems much more at home at Neil Tennant‘s rural home in the north of England. It’s funny – I feel as though I understand this album pretty well, and I would defend it to the hilt, but it also seems a bit of a mess in places.

What strikes me is that the end of this trilogy puts us at a natural endpoint for Pet Shop Boys. I hope that’s not true – I hope this is just the closing of another chapter, but it feels as though they’ve given us some classic, revitalised Pet Shop Boys over the course of this trilogy, and now they’re working with young retro remixers, recording unreleased songs from before they were famous, and giving us an album where the only clear statement seems to be “this is our life right now”. Of course, in a sense, that’s all any album ever is, and so whatever the next chapter holds, it could be very interesting indeed.

Please take a moment to look back at my reviews of Elysium and Electric. It looks as though I haven’t quite got around to Super yet, and I’ll try to get onto Hotspot as soon as I feel I’m ready.

BRIT Awards 2020

The 2020 BRIT Awards were hosted by Jack Whitehall, sadly without his dad in tow, and took place at the O2 Arena in London on Tuesday night (February 18th). Here are the winners of those new-fangled award categories.

British Album of the Year

Presented by Billie Eilish and Finneas. The nominees:

  • Lewis Capaldi – Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent
  • Dave – Psychodrama
  • Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka
  • Harry Styles – Fine Line
  • Stormzy – Heavy is the Head

Winner: Dave

Song of the Year

The award formerly known as Best British Single was presented by the rubbery Tom Jones. Nominated were:

  • Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved
  • Dave feat. Burna Boy – Location
  • Calvin Harris and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man – Giant
  • Mabel – Don’t Call Me Up
  • Mark Ronson feat. Miley Cyrus – Nothing Breaks Like a Heart
  • Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber – I Don’t Care
  • Sam Smith and Normani – Dancing with a Stranger
  • Stormzy – Vossi Bop
  • AJ Tracey – Ladbroke Grove
  • Tom Walker – Just You and I

Winner: Lewis Capaldi

British Male Solo Artist

Presented by the also-rubbery Ronnie Wood. The nominees:

  • Lewis Capaldi
  • Dave
  • Michael Kiwanuka
  • Stormzy
  • Harry Styles

Winner: Stormzy

British Female Solo Artist

Presented by Ellie Goulding and Jorja Smith. The nominees were:

  • Charli XCX
  • FKA Twigs
  • Mabel
  • Mahalia
  • Freya Ridings

Winner: Mabel

British Group

Presented by an unnecessary large group consisting of Anne-Marie, Courtney Love, and Hailee Steinfeld. Nominees:

  • Bastille
  • Bring Me the Horizon
  • Coldplay
  • D-Block Europe
  • Foals

Winner: Foals

Best New Artist

The now-elderly Best British Newcomer and subsequently Best British Breakthrough Act award was presented by Clara Amfo and Niall Horan. Nominees:

  • Aitch
  • Lewis Capaldi
  • Dave
  • Sam Fender
  • Mabel

Winner: Lewis Capaldi

International Male Solo Artist

Improbably presented by Kiefer Sutherland and Paloma Faith, with the following nominees:

  • Burna Boy
  • Dermot Kennedy
  • Post Malone
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Tyler, the Creator

Winner: Tyler, the Creator

International Female Solo Artist

Presented by Melanie C. Nominated were:

  • Camila Cabello
  • Lana Del Rey
  • Billie Eilish
  • Ariana Grande
  • Lizzo

Winner: Billie Eilish

Rising Star Award

This one used to be the Critics’ Choice Award. Nominated were:

  • Beabadoobee
  • Celeste
  • Joy Crookes

Winner: Celeste

British Producer of the Year

Winner: Fred Again

So that’s it for another year!

BRIT Awards 2020 – Nominations

Well, someone has been meddling with the categories this year, but the BRIT Awards nominations are finally among us!

British Album of the Year

  • Lewis Capaldi – Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent
  • Dave – Psychodrama
  • Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka
  • Harry Styles – Fine Line
  • Stormzy – Heavy is the Head

Song of the Year

That’s the award formerly known as Best British Single.

  • Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved
  • Dave feat. Burna Boy – Location
  • Calvin Harris and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man – Giant
  • Mabel – Don’t Call Me Up
  • Mark Ronson feat. Miley Cyrus – Nothing Breaks Like a Heart
  • Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber – I Don’t Care
  • Sam Smith and Normani – Dancing with a Stranger
  • Stormzy – Vossi Bop
  • AJ Tracey – Ladbroke Grove
  • Tom Walker – Just You and I

British Male Solo Artist

  • Lewis Capaldi
  • Dave
  • Michael Kiwanuka
  • Stormzy
  • Harry Styles

British Female Solo Artist

  • Charli XCX
  • FKA Twigs
  • Mabel
  • Mahalia
  • Freya Ridings

British Group

  • Bastille
  • Bring Me the Horizon
  • Coldplay
  • D-Block Europe
  • Foals

Best New Artist

This one used to be called Best British Newcomer, and then became Best British Breakthrough Act.

  • Aitch
  • Lewis Capaldi
  • Dave
  • Sam Fender
  • Mabel

International Male Solo Artist

  • Burna Boy
  • Dermot Kennedy
  • Post Malone
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Tyler, the Creator

International Female Solo Artist

  • Camila Cabello
  • Lana Del Rey
  • Billie Eilish
  • Ariana Grande
  • Lizzo

Rising Star Award

This one used to be the Critics’ Choice Award. The new name makes sense, to some degree. The fact that they tell us who’s going to win ahead of time does not.

  • Beabadoobee
  • Celeste
  • Joy Crookes

Winner: Celeste, which I’m sure will upset Daphne. Ooh, stick you.

The BRIT Awards 2011

For the first time, the BRIT Awards took place at The O2 Arena on 15th February 2011, now, according to the official website, with more live music than ever before. James Corden was the host, and the award was designed by Vivienne Westwood.

This post is part of a series about the history of the BRIT Awards. You can read about the 2010 ceremony here, and the 2012 ceremony next time.

MasterCard British Album of the Year

Presented by Roger Daltrey from The Who. Nominees:

  • Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
  • Plan B – The Defamation of Strickland Banks
  • Take That – Progress
  • Tinie Tempah – Disc-Overy
  • The xx – xx

Winner: Mumford & Sons

British Single

Voted for by listeners of Capital Radio and users of iTunes, and presented by Alan Carr. Nominees:

  • Alexandra Burke feat. Pitbull – All Night Long
  • Matt Cardle – When We Collide
  • Cheryl Cole – Parachute
  • Taio Cruz – Dynamite
  • Florence + The Machine – You Got the Love
  • Olly Murs – Please Don’t Let Me Go
  • Plan B – She Said
  • Scouting for Girls – This Ain’t a Love Song
  • Tinie Tempah – Pass Out
  • The Wanted – All Time Low

Winner: Tinie Tempah

British Male Solo Artist

Presented by Dizzee Rascal. Nominees:

  • Plan B
  • Robert Plant
  • Mark Ronson
  • Tinie Tempah
  • Paul Weller

Winner: Plan B

British Female Solo Artist

Presented by Boy George. Nominees:

  • Cheryl Cole
  • Paloma Faith
  • Ellie Goulding
  • Laura Marling
  • Rumer

Winner: Laura Marling

British Group

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 2, and presented by Dermot O’Leary. Nominees:

  • Biffy Clyro
  • Gorillaz
  • Mumford & Sons
  • Take That
  • The xx

Winner: Take That

British Breakthrough Act

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 1, and presented by Fearne Cotton. Nominees:

  • Ellie Goulding
  • Mumford & Sons
  • Rumer
  • Tinie Tempah
  • The xx

Winner: Tinie Tempah

British Producer

Awarded alongside a couple of other producer awards at the Music Producers Guild Awards the week before the main ceremony. Nominees:

  • Markus Dravs
  • Ethan Johns
  • John Leckie
  • Mike Pela
  • Stuart Price

Winner: Markus Dravs

International Album

Presented by Boris Becker. Nominees:

  • Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
  • Eminem – Recovery
  • Cee Lo Green – The Lady Killer
  • Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown
  • Katy Perry – Teenage Dream

Winner: Arcade Fire

International Male Solo Artist

Presented by Lewis Hamilton. Nominees:

  • Eminem
  • Cee Lo Green
  • David Guetta
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Kanye West

Winner: Cee Lo Green

International Female Solo Artist

Presented by Cheryl Cole. Nominees:

  • Alicia Keys
  • Kylie Minogue
  • Katy Perry
  • Rihanna
  • Robyn

Winner: Rihanna

International Group

Presented by Simon Le Bon and John Taylor from Duran Duran. Nominees:

  • Arcade Fire
  • The Black Eyed Peas
  • Kings of Leon
  • The Script
  • Vampire Weekend

Winner: Arcade Fire

International Breakthrough Act

Voted for by viewers of MTV, and presented by Avril Lavigne and Will Young. Nominees:

  • Justin Bieber
  • Glee Cast
  • Bruno Mars
  • The National
  • The Temper Trap

Winner: Justin Bieber

Critics’ Choice

In association with War Child, and presented by Mark Ronson and Ellie Goulding. Nominees:

  • James Blake
  • Jessie J
  • The Vaccines

Winner: Jessie J

Outstanding Contribution

The BBC’s coverage (linked below) of the previous week’s Music Producers Guild Awards is a little confusing, as the entire event must have been. Was the Outstanding Contribution award part of the BRITs or of the Music Producers Guild event? Wikipedia thinks it was part of the BRITs…

My own interpretation of the situation is that there was no outstanding contribution award at the BRITs this year, but either way, the entirely justified winner was the founder of Mute Records, Daniel Miller, presented by Alison Goldfrapp, while Tony Visconti won the Innovation in Production award.

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

The BRIT Awards 2010

The 2010 BRIT Awards were hosted by Peter Kay at Earls Court, in London, on Tuesday 16th February. Complicatedly, this was the thirtieth ceremony, although not the thirtieth anniversary, but this was celebrated by the special Brits Hits 30 award.

This post is part of a series about the history of the BRIT Awards. You can read about the 2009 ceremony here, and the 2011 ceremony next time.

MasterCard British Album

Presented by Tom Ford. Nominees:

  • Lily Allen – It’s Not Me, It’s You
  • Dizzee Rascal – Tongue ‘n’ Cheek
  • Florence + The Machine – Lungs
  • Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
  • Paolo Nutini – Sunny Side Up

Winner: Florence + The Machine

British Single

Voted for by listeners of UK commercial radio and readers of The Sun, and presented by Alan Carr. Nominees:

  • Lily Allen – The Fear
  • Alexandra Burke feat. Flo Rida – Bad Boys
  • Cheryl Cole – Fight for This Love
  • Taio Cruz – Break Your Heart
  • Alesha Dixon – Breathe Slow
  • JLS – Beat Again
  • La Roux – In for the Kill
  • Pixie Lott – Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)
  • Joe McElderry – The Climb
  • Tinchy Stryder feat. N-Dubz – Number 1

Winner: JLS

British Male Solo Artist

Presented by Andy Serkis. Nominees:

  • Dizzee Rascal
  • Calvin Harris
  • Mika
  • Paolo Nutini
  • Robbie Williams

Winner: Dizzee Rascal

British Female Solo Artist

Presented by Shirley Bassey. Nominees:

  • Lily Allen
  • Bat for Lashes
  • Florence + The Machine
  • Leona Lewis
  • Pixie Lott

Winner: Lily Allen

British Group

Presented by Idris Elba. Nominees:

  • Doves
  • Friendly Fires
  • JLS
  • Kasabian
  • Muse

Winner: Kasabian

British Breakthrough Act

Presented by Geri Halliwell. Nominees:

  • Florence + The Machine
  • Friendly Fires
  • JLS
  • La Roux
  • Pixie Lott

Winner: JLS

International Male Solo Artist

Presented by Melanie Brown. Nominees:

  • Michael Bublé
  • Eminem
  • Jay Z
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Seasick Steve

Winner: Jay Z

International Female Solo Artist

Presented by Jonathan Ross. Nominees:

  • Lady Gaga
  • Ladyhawke
  • Norah Jones
  • Rihanna
  • Shakira

Winner: Lady Gaga

International Breakthrough Act

Presented by Cat Deeley. Nominees:

  • Animal Collective
  • Empire of the Sun
  • Lady Gaga
  • Daniel Merriweather
  • Taylor Swift

Winner: Lady Gaga

International Album

Presented by Mika. Nominees:

  • Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
  • The Black Eyed Peas – The E.N.D.
  • Empire of the Sun – Walking on a Dream
  • Jay-Z – The Blueprint 3
  • Lady Gaga – The Fame

Winner: Lady Gaga

Critics Choice

Presented by Courtney Love. Nominees:

  • Delphic
  • Ellie Goulding
  • Marina and the Diamonds

Winner: Ellie Goulding

Outstanding Contribution to Music

Winner: Robbie Williams

BRITs Hits 30 – Best Live Performance at the BRIT Awards

Voted for by viewers of GMTV, and presented by Samantha Fox. The year of each original performance is shown below. Nominees:

  • Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive / How Deep Is Your Love (1997)
  • Bros – I Owe You Nothing (1989)
  • Coldplay – Clocks (2003)
  • Eurythmics and Stevie Wonder – There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart) (1999)
  • Girls Aloud – The Promise (2009)
  • Michael Jackson – Earth Song (1996)
  • Paul McCartney and Wings – Live and Let Die (2008)
  • Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out of My Head (2002)
  • Pet Shop Boys – Go West (1994)
  • Scissor Sisters – Take Your Mama (2005)
  • Spice Girls – Wannabe / Who Do You Think You Are (1997)
  • Take That – The Beatles Medley (1994)
  • Kanye West – Gold Digger (2006)
  • The Who – Who Are You (1977)
  • Robbie Williams and Tom Jones – The Full Monty Medley (1998)

Winner: Spice Girls

BRITs Album of 30 Years

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 2, and presented by Noddy Holder from Slade. Nominees:

  • Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head
  • Phil Collins – No Jacket Required
  • Dido – No Angel
  • Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms
  • Duffy – Rockferry
  • Keane – Hopes and Fears
  • Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
  • Sade – Diamond Life
  • Travis – The Man Who
  • The Verve – Urban Hymns

Winner: Oasis

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

The BRIT Awards 2008

February 9th 2008 saw The Osbournes in their entirety presenting the BRIT Awards at Earls Court in London.

This post is part of a series about the history of the BRIT Awards. You can read about the 2007 ceremony here, and the 2009 ceremony here.

MasterCard British Album

Presented by Vic Reeves. Nominees:

  • Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare
  • Leona Lewis – Spirit
  • Mika – Life in Cartoon Motion
  • Mark Ronson – Version
  • Take That – Beautiful World

Winner: Arctic Monkeys

British Single

Voted for by listeners of hit40uk, and presented by Alan Carr. Nominees:

  • James Blunt – 1973
  • Mutya Buena – Real Girl
  • The Hoosiers – Worried About Ray
  • Kaiser Chiefs – Ruby
  • Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love
  • Mika – Grace Kelly
  • Kate Nash – Foundations
  • Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse – Valerie
  • Sugababes – About You Now
  • Take That – Shine

Wikipedia lists Mutya Buena as having been eliminated on 15th February, James Blunt on the 16th, Kate Nash on the 17th, and Kaiser Chiefs and Sugababes on the 18th, leaving the following nominees on the night:

  • The Hoosiers – Worried About Ray
  • Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love
  • Mika – Grace Kelly
  • Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse – Valerie
  • Take That – Shine

Winner: Take That

British Male

Presented by Beth Ditto. Nominees:

  • Newton Faulkner
  • Richard Hawley
  • Mika
  • Mark Ronson
  • Jamie T

Winner: Mark Ronson

British Female

Presented by James Nesbitt. Nominees:

  • Bat for Lashes
  • PJ Harvey
  • Leona Lewis
  • Kate Nash
  • KT Tunstall

Winner: Kate Nash

British Group

Presented by Sir Ian McKellen. Nominees:

  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Editors
  • Girls Aloud
  • Kaiser Chiefs
  • Take That

Winner: Arctic Monkeys

British Breakthrough Act

Chosen by listeners of BBC Radio 1, and presented by Jonathan Rhys Myers. Nominees:

  • Bat for Lashes
  • Klaxons
  • Leona Lewis
  • Mika
  • Kate Nash

Winner: Mika

British Live Act

Chosen by listeners of BBC Radio 2, and presented by Chris Moyles. Nominees:

  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Kaiser Chiefs
  • Klaxons
  • Muse
  • Take That

Winner: Take That

International Male

Presented by Kelly Rowland. Nominees:

  • Michael Bublé
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Timbaland
  • Rufus Wainwright
  • Kanye West

Winner: Kanye West

International Female

Presented by David Tennant. Nominees:

  • Björk
  • Feist
  • Alicia Keys
  • Kylie Minogue
  • Rihanna

Winner: Kylie Minogue

International Group

Presented by Denise Van Outen and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Nominees:

  • Arcade Fire
  • Eagles
  • Foo Fighters
  • Kings of Leon
  • The White Stripes

Winner: Foo Fighters

International Album

Presented by Michelle Ryan. Nominees:

  • Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
  • Eagles – Long Road Out of Eden
  • Foo Fighters – Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
  • Kings of Leon – Because of the Times
  • Kylie Minogue – X

Winner: Foo Fighters

Critics Choice

A new award, chosen by a panel of music experts, and presented by Will Young. Nominees:

  • Adele
  • Duffy
  • Foals

Winner: Adele

Outstanding Contribution to Music

Presented by Kylie Minogue.

Winner: Sir Paul McCartney

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

The BRIT Awards 2006

Chris Evans hosted the 2006 BRIT Awards on 14th February at Earls Court in London.

This post is part of a series about the history of the BRIT Awards. You can read about the 2005 ceremony here, and the 2007 ceremony next time.

MasterCard British Album

Presented by Madonna. Nominees:

  • James Blunt – Back to Bedlam
  • Kate Bush – Aerial
  • Coldplay – X & Y
  • Gorillaz – Demon Days
  • Kaiser Chiefs – Employment

Winner: Coldplay

Best British Single

Presented by Morten Harket of a-ha. Nominees:

  • James Blunt – You’re Beautiful
  • Tony Christie feat. Peter Kay – (Is This The Way To) Amarillo
  • Coldplay – Speed of Sound
  • Sugababes – Push The Button
  • Shayne Ward – That’s My Goal

Winner: Coldplay

Best British Male Solo Artist

Presented by Wayne Coyne. Nominees:

  • Antony and the Johnsons
  • James Blunt
  • Ian Brown
  • Robbie Williams
  • Will Young

Winner: James Blunt

Best British Female Solo Artist

Presented by Jo Whiley. Nominees:

  • Natasha Bedingfield
  • Kate Bush
  • Charlotte Church
  • Katie Melua
  • KT Tunstall

Winner: KT Tunstall

Best British Group

Presented by Blondie‘s Debbie Harry. Nominees:

  • Coldplay
  • Franz Ferdinand
  • Gorillaz
  • Hard-Fi
  • Kaiser Chiefs

Winner: Kaiser Chiefs

Best British Breakthrough Act

Presented by Chris O’Dowd. Nominees:

  • Arctic Monkeys
  • James Blunt
  • Kaiser Chiefs
  • The Magic Numbers
  • KT Tunstall

Winner: Arctic Monkeys

Best British Rock Act

Presented by Tamsin Greig. Nominees:

  • Franz Ferdinand
  • Hard-Fi
  • Kaiser Chiefs
  • Kasabian
  • Oasis

Winner: Kaiser Chiefs

Best British Urban Act

Nominees:

  • Craig David
  • Dizzee Rascal
  • Kano
  • Lemar
  • Ms. Dynamite

Winner: Lemar

Best British Live Act

Presented by Thandie Newton. Nominees:

  • Coldplay
  • Franz Ferdinand
  • Kaiser Chiefs
  • Oasis
  • KT Tunstall

Winner: Kaiser Chiefs

Best Pop Act

Presented by Harry Hill. Nominees:

  • James Blunt
  • Kelly Clarkson
  • Madonna
  • Katie Melua
  • Westlife

Winner: James Blunt

Best International Album

Presented by Paris Hilton. Nominees:

  • Arcade Fire – Funeral
  • Green Day – American Idiot
  • Madonna – Confessions on a Dancefloor
  • U2 – How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
  • Kanye West – Late Registration

Winner: Green Day

Best International Male Solo Artist

Presented by Boy George. Nominees:

  • Beck
  • Jack Johnson
  • John Legend
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Kanye West

Winner: Kanye West

Best International Female Solo Artist

Presented by Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys. Nominees:

  • Björk
  • Mariah Carey
  • Kelly Clarkson
  • Missy Elliott
  • Madonna

Winner: Madonna

Best International Group

Nominees:

  • Arcade Fire
  • The Black Eyed Peas
  • Green Day
  • U2
  • The White Stripes

Winner: Green Day

Best International Breakthrough Act

Presented by Beth Orton. Nominees:

  • Arcade Fire
  • Jack Johnson
  • John Legend
  • Daniel Powter
  • The Pussycat Dolls

Winner: Jack Johnson

Outstanding Contribution to Music

Presented by Ray Winstone.

Winner: Paul Weller

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

Pet Shop Boys – Electric

After 2012’s Elysium, you could probably have been forgiven for thinking Pet Shop Boys had lost it a little bit. There was, as I explained when I reviewed it, nothing especially wrong with it, but it wasn’t exactly contemporary.

But there were rumours floating around at the same time – they had recorded a dance album, and it was going to come out very soon. Which it did. Electric is entirely contemporary. And also retro. And also totally brilliant.

It wasn’t the first time they had done something like this. 1993’s Very was both accompanied by a mini-dance album Relentless and also followed soon after by remix album Disco 2. The largely forgotten guitar album Release (2002) was followed by the brilliant remix/dance album Disco 3 (2003). So they had form, but even so, Electric was quite unexpected. Previously they had all been mini-albums or remix albums, whereas this was another proper album. Not only that, but having got into the habit of only releasing new material every three or four years, this was a whole new release, just ten months after its predecessor.

The album opens with the excellent Axis. There aren’t a lot of vocals – mainly “turn it on,” and “electric energy,” but somehow it’s still classic Pet Shop Boys, perhaps channelling the extended introduction to their first remix album Disco in 1986, which opened with the brilliant In the Night.

Bolshy follows, probably my least favourite track on the album due to its slightly daft chorus, but the verse and production more than make up for any failings it might have. Single Love is a bourgeois construct comes next, again with a slightly daft chorus, but this time also with a cheeky smile on its face and a fun lyric.

It’s tempting to wonder where exactly Pet Shop Boys found the creativity to record something quite this brilliant. After all, three decades into their career, they could certainly be forgiven for going a bit more slowly from now on. Perhaps the support of producer Stuart Price helped – and Neil Tennant‘s claim that this is just the first in a trilogy of albums with Price will be very welcome news if it turns out to be true.

Flourescent is lacking somewhat in Neil Tennant‘s trademark clever lyrics, but it’s easily one of the best tracks on this album, probably mainly because of the production. It’s enormous, moody, dark, and beautiful. We may be just four tracks into this album, but it’s already excellent in the extreme.

Somehow, though, the best is yet to come. Inside a dream is far from the dreary centrepiece that many acts might go for. It’s perhaps the most retro-sounding track on the album, with its huge hand claps and 80s-style counter-melodies, but there’s also something very contemporary about it.

Then comes perhaps the oddest track on the album, The Last to Die, a cover of a song by Bruce Springsteen. It could easily sound very out-of-place indeed, but somehow it fits perfectly, and is another of the best tracks on here. Like all Pet Shop Boys covers, it’s totally unexpected and probably shouldn’t work, but it really does work very well indeed.

Shouting in the evening is probably the low point of the second half of the album. Which is a bold statement, as this is still an excellent track – the calibre is just so high on Electric that there’s no room for anything less than extraordinary.

Then the most recent single Thursday is the penultimate track, and from the opening chords you can hear that it’s classic Pet Shop Boys – it even boasts a West End girls-inspired bass line. And a list! Chris Lowe turns up for one of his occasional vocals to list the days of the weekend – “Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.” The lyrics are quite incredible – everyone knows the weekend starts on Thursday rather than Friday, so why had nobody ever written a song about that before? Just when you think you’ve got the hang of the song, Example turns up and raps and sings his way through the second half. It’s an unlikely collaboration, but one which works perfectly.

Finally the main single Vocal brings the album to a close in exceptional form. By the time the chorus kicks off, you know pretty much what to expect, but somehow it still surprises, with its “hands in the air,” synth riff. Quite incredible.

Electric is, without a doubt, the best Pet Shop Boys record in at least two decades, and easily deserved to spend the entirety of 2013 at number one. Without doing anything completely different, they have managed totally reinvent themselves and come back sounding fresh and new. Three decades on, and they still clearly have a lot to offer. Quite how they will come back after this is difficult to guess, but I for one am looking forward to finding out.

You can find Electric through all standard retailers. There isn’t a special edition, so just grab the CD version instead.

BRIT Award Losers

A number of enormous artists have never won a BRIT, and some have even been tantalisingly nominated a large number of times. Here’s a list of some of the biggest:

Bob Dylan

As with many of the artists on this list, he had completed much of his career prior to the start of the BRITs, and also as an “international” artist he was never going to be quite so favoured, but he’s still received surprisingly few nominations.

Nominated in 2002 for Best International Male Solo Artist, and in 2007 for the same award and also Best International Album for Modern Times.

Gorillaz

Despite being pretty enormous, they have remained almost entirely unrecognised by the BRITs. Nominated in 2002 for Best British Newcomer, Best British Dance Act, Best British Single, and Best British Video (the latter two for Clint Eastwood), then in 2006 for Best British Group and Best British Album for Demon Days, and most recently in 2011 for Best British Group. Each was won by someone else.

PJ Harvey

One of the BRITs’ regulars for the Best British Female award, alongside Alison Moyet and Annie Lennox (nominated in 1994, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2005, and 2008), she has never actually managed to win. Also nominated in 2012 for Best British Album for Let England Strike.

Madness

Despite being very active during the early years of the BRITs, they managed just three nominations – Best British Group in 1982 and 1984, and Best British Album for Complete Madness in 1983.

Pink Floyd

Nominated just four times – twice for Best British Group, and twice for Best British Album. The first pair was in 1977, for Dark Side of the Moon, and the second in 1995 for The Division Bell. None won.

Pulp

Surprisingly nominated only four times too, all in 1996 – for Best British Group, Best British Album for Different Class, Best British Single for Common People, and Best British Video, also for Common People.

Rolling Stones

Nominated a paltry three times – in 1977 for Best British Group, in 1995 for Best British Video for Love is Strong, and again in 1996 for Like a Rolling Stone.

Bruce Springsteen

Nominated for the Best International Male Solo Artist award eight times – in 1985, 1987, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2011. With no wins, and no other nominations.

Tina Turner

Nominated in 1986, 1990, 1991, and 1994 for Best International Female Solo Artist, plus in 1977 for Best International Pop Single for River Deep, Mountain High, and in 1990 for Best Video for Simply the Best. Again, none of them won.

Stevie Wonder

Not only has Stevie Wonder never Won; he’s barely even managed any nominations. In 1985 he snuck a nomination in for The Woman in Red with Dionne Warwick, in the Best Soundtrack / Cast Recording category. In 2010, he was nominated for a BRITs Hits 30, in duet with Annie Lennox on There Must Be An Angel (Playing with My Heart). In fact, he has managed just two nominations: Best International Pop Album in 1977 for Songs in the Key of Life, and Best International Solo Artist in 1986.

The Top Three

Three artists have been nominated an astonishing number of times, and have also managed to fail an astonishing number of times.

  1. Radiohead – nominated 15 times
  2. Jamiroquai – nominated 14 times
  3. Craig David – nominated 13 times

It was probably Bo Selecta‘s fault.