Retro chart for stowaways – 7 February 2004

These were the top ten albums, thirteen years ago this week:

  1. Air – Talkie Walkie
  2. Goldfrapp – Black Cherry
  3. Delerium – Chimera
  4. Pet Shop Boys – PopArt
  5. Dido – Life for Rent
  6. Sugababes – Three
  7. Tears for Fears – Tears Roll Down (Greatest Hits 82-92)
  8. Basement Jaxx – Kish Kash
  9. Dido – No Angel
  10. Air – Moon Safari
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Faithless – Outrospective

Faithless never really did anything wrong. Maybe it’s just me that’s forgotten about them, or maybe history is somehow clouding my judgement, but to my surprise I find myself approaching this review with a bit of trepidation.

Fifteen years ago this week, the dance superstars released their third album Outrospective. After the slightly confused debut Reverence (1996) and the traditionally difficult second album Sunday 8pm (1998), this was definitely their best yet, so what reason could I possibly have for this trepidation?

It opens with Donny X, a pleasant instrumental electronic piece which ends with Maxi Jazz giving a few introductory words before the lovely Not Enuff Love begins. It’s a bit trippy, which seems somewhat unnecessary for such a sweet song, but maybe that’s just me.

If you were paying attention in the early summer of 2001, We Come 1 would have caught your attention, and so it is on the album, although for once it possibly suffers a little by appearing in its full eight minute glory. It’s great – those backwards kicks are enormous – but it feels as though it all happened a very long time ago now.

But I still feel as though I’m forcing myself to be critical, especially as the lovely Zoë Johnston turns up to deliver the vocal on the adorable Crazy English Summer, a song which has subconsciously haunted me for years since I left the UK. It feels as though it’s designed to remind me personally of the rained off barbecues and long walks in the countryside of the 1990s.

Muhammad Ali is the one track on here that I’ve never entirely understood – ultimately I think Maxi Jazz‘s relationship with the boxing legend is different to mine, and the disco backing doesn’t quite work for me.

Machines R Us is next (technically, that’s a backwards R, but I can’t actually be bothered finding the keystroke for that right now), continuing the disco theme slightly. It’s an instrumental, which is pleasant, and carries us through to Dido‘s inevitable appearance with the sublime single One Step Too Far. This in turn drifts gently into the introduction of one of the best dance tracks on here, the brilliant Tarantula, definitely one of the best songs about spiders in recent times if nothing else.

You do have to wonder what on earth Maxi Jazz is on about sometimes though – Giving Myself Away is nice, but has somewhat inscrutable lyrics. The instrumental Code is really sweet too, and carries us through to two more appearances by Zoë Johnston, firstly on the anthemic and understated Evergreen. This is so good that it had me wondering if Johnston had ever released a solo album. As it happens, she has, so I may be checking that out soon. Anyway…

I had my doubts, I confess, but by the end of Outrospective I’m finding I still love it every bit as much as I did fifteen years ago. Some parts have dated, definitely. But the elements that made it great are still very much there. This is definitely Faithless‘s finest hour.

If you can still find a copy of the double CD version of Outrospective/Reperspective, that’s the one to go for.

The Best of the BRIT Awards

The 2016 BRIT Awards take place tonight, but unfortunately (well, fortunately, for me) I’m actually on holiday right now, so I’ll have to catch up when I’m back. In the meantime, here’s something I knocked up a few weeks ago – you could call it The BRIT Award Awards, or perhaps The Best of the BRIT Awards.

I’ve gone through each of the previous ceremonies, and worked out the most nominated and winning artists for each category. So here goes! For the most part, we’ll be using the current awards and names.

British Male Solo Artist

  • Phil Collins. Won 1986, 1989, 1990.
  • George Michael. Won 1988, 1997.
  • Cliff Richard. Won 1977, 1982. Nominated 1983, 1984, 1988, 1990.
  • Paul Weller. Won 1995, 1996, 2009.
  • Robbie Williams. Won 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003.

The winner is Robbie Williams, with four wins. Honourable mention to Ed Sheeran for scraping into sixth place.

International Male Solo Artist

  • Beck. Won 1997, 1999, 2000.
  • Eminem. Won 2001, 2003, 2005.
  • Prince. Won 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996.
  • Justin Timberlake. Won 2004, 2007. Nominated 2014.
  • Kanye West. Won 2006, 2008, 2009.

Winner: Prince, and an honourable mention for Bruno Mars, for just missing out on the nominations.

British Female Solo Artist

  • Kate Bush. Won 1987. Nominated 1986, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1995, 2006, 2012.
  • Dido. Won 2002, 2004. Nominated 2001.
  • Annie Lennox. Won 1984, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1996.
  • Alison Moyet. Won 1985, 1988. Nominated 1984, 1986, 2003.
  • Lisa Stansfield. Won 1991, 1992. Nominated 1990, 1993, 1995, 1998.

The winner is Annie Lennox, a tearaway success with six wins.

International Female Solo Artist

  • Beyoncé. Won 2004. Nominated 2007, 2009, 2012, 2015.
  • Björk. Won 1994, 1996, 1998. Nominated 2002, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2016.
  • Madonna. Won 2001, 2006. Nominated 1986, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1999.
  • Kylie Minogue. Won 2002, 2008. Nominated 1989, 1995, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2011.
  • Rihanna. Won 2011, 2012. Nominated 2008, 2010, 2013.

The winner is Björk, much loved and much deserved.

British Group

  • Arctic Monkeys. Won 2007, 2008, 2014. Nominated 2012.
  • Coldplay. Won 2001, 2003. 2012. Nominated 2006, 2009, 2015, 2016.
  • Manic Street Preachers. Won 1997, 1999.
  • Simply Red. Won 1993, shared win 1992.
  • Travis. Won 2000, 2002.

The winner, with three wins and rather more nominations than Arctic Monkeys, is Coldplay!

International Group

  • Bon Jovi. Won 1996. Nominated 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990.
  • Foo Fighters. Won 2008, 2012, 2015. Nominated 1996, 2003.
  • Kings of Leon. Won 2009. Nominated 2004, 2008, 2011, 2014.
  • R.E.M. Won 1992, 1993, 1995. Nominated 1997, 1999, 2002.
  • U2. Won 1988, 1989, 1990, 1998, 2001. Nominated 1992, 1993, 1994, 2005, 2006, 2016. Nominated for British Group 1985, 1986.

Winner: with five wins, U2.

British Producer of the Year

  • Brian Eno. Won 1994, 1996. Nominated 1988.
  • Flood. Co-won 2014. Nominated 1994, 1995, 2012, 2013.
  • Trevor Horn. Won 1983, 1985, 1992. Nominated 1984, 1986, 1987, 1993, 1995.
  • David A. Stewart. Won 1986, 1987, 1990. Nominated 1992.
  • Stock, Aitken and Waterman. Won 1988. Nominated 1987, 1990, 1992. Pete Waterman nominated separately in 1993.

Winner: Trevor Horn.

British Single

Adele and Coldplay tie for fifth and sixth place in the nominations, so we have six nominees:

  • Adele. Won 2013. Nominated 2009, 2012, 2016.
  • Blur. Won 1995. Nominated 1995 (again), 1996, 1998, 2000.
  • Coldplay. Won 2006. Nominated 2001, 2009, 2013.
  • Queen. Won 1977, 1992.
  • Take That. Won 1993, 1994, 1996, 2007, 2008. Nominated 1993 (twice more!)
  • Robbie Williams. Won 1999, 2000, 2001. Nominated 1998, 1999 (again), 2002, 2013.

Winner: Take That, with an honourable mention for Robbie Williams for taking part in several of their wins too.

British Artist Video

There are seven nominees in this category, because four artists are tied for the bottom position, with one win and two nominations.

  • All Saints. Won 1998. Nominated 1999, 2001.
  • Blur. Won 1995. Nominated 1996 (twice), 1998.
  • The Cure. Won 1990. Nominated 1991, 1993.
  • Peter Gabriel. Won 1987. Nominated 1993, 1994.
  • One Direction. Won 2014, 2015. Nominated 2016.
  • Spice Girls. Won 1997. Nominated 1997 (again), 1998.
  • Robbie Williams. Won 1999, 2000, 2001. Nominated 1999 (again), 2002 (twice).

Winner: Robbie Williams.

British Album

Six nominees again for this one:

  • Arctic Monkeys. Won 2007, 2008, 2014.
  • Blur. Won 1995. Nominated 1996, 2004.
  • Coldplay. Won 2001, 2003. Nominated 2006, 2009, 2012, 2016.
  • Florence + The Machine. Won 2010. Nominated 2012, 2016.
  • Manic Street Preachers. Won 1997, 1999. Nominated 1997.
  • Oasis. Won 1996. Nominated 1995, 1998.

That’s a decisive win for Arctic Monkeys!

And that’s your lot! If it seems a slightly odd list, think of it as a list of the typical nominees and winners at the BRITs. If you’re more interested in the ceremony that’s about to happen, that would be here.

Anyway, enjoy the ceremony tonight, and we’ll catch up on the results here very soon.

Dusted – Safe from Harm

In 2005, five years after it had originally been released, Dusted performed a makeover on their album When We Were Young, and reissued it as Safe from Harm. We’re just a handful of weeks after the fifteenth anniversary of the original album, which makes it a decade since the reissue, and an ideal moment to take a listen.

New opener In the Beginning starts with the sound of a baby crying, which can be a little overused in music sometimes, but here, on an album about the journey of childhood, it’s entirely appropriate.

The driving force behind Dusted is Rollo, most famously from Faithless, and so it’s entirely apt that his sister Dido turns up to lead the vocals on Time Takes Time, a beautiful song which stood out on the original album, but here is magnificent. In fact, all the way through this album we’re blessed by extremely strong vocal performances.

DIdo stays on for Hurt U as well, but it’s difficult to remember that once the exquisite Always Remember to Respect and Honour Your Mother (Part 1) begins. Released as a single in early 2000, with a serene and ethereal animated video, it remains one of the most beautiful songs of the last couple of decades. If you aren’t touched by this, there really is something wrong with you.

Whereas When We Were Young had a few minor blips, the quality on Safe from Harm really doesn’t relent. But it’s best viewed as a single entity, rather than a group of songs – pieces like Rest are lovely, but you’re not likely to listen to them outside of the album context.

Biggest Fool in the World brings another fantastic vocal, and then Always Remember to Respect and Honour Your Mother (Part 2) follows, an instrumental driven by pounding beats and a spoken word section. Then Winter, a deep, atmospheric piece, with another fine vocal performance from Dido.

Oscar Song and In Memoriam both have their place, but are probably about as close as this album comes to filler, and even that would be a pretty unfair word to use here. Under the Sun and If I Had a Child are both exceptional songs – it’s hard to find any more superlatives for them at this point, but both really are very good indeed.

And that’s about it – unless you leave the CD playing a little longer, and come across the hidden bonus track, which I suspect ought to be called I Am a Monster (Discogs suggests it’s actually called A Typical Monster Song, but offers no evidence for this). It has very little to do with the rest of the album, but it’s a fun epilogue nonetheless.

So Safe from Harm may be a remake of an earlier album, but while both are good, Safe from Harm really took it to another level. It’s an exceptional album, and perhaps one day Dusted will come back for another go. If we’re lucky.

You can still find Safe from Harm at all major retailers.

Music for the Masses 32 – 16 February 2005

Always keen to try new features on the show, the Spring term had seen my try out the Unsigned Act feature, where I would try to give a new or unsigned artist a bit of free airtime, with no strings attached (well, except they had to be good). In the end, it was a bit of a failure, as pretty much everyone who showed an interest failed to submit anything on time. One of the few exceptions was Blue Swan, whom we also covered here on the blog.

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Show 32: Wed 16 Feb 2005, from 6:05pm-8:00pm

Broadcast on LSR FM, online only. Artist of the week: Faithless.

  • BT – Love, Peace and Grease
  • Conjure One – Centre of the Sun (29 Palms Remix)
  • Dave Gahan – I Need You
  • Mirwais – Naïve Song
  • Leftfield – Afro-Left
  • Faithless – Don’t Leave
  • Bomb the Bass – Winter in July
  • Echoboy – Lately Lonely
  • Groove Armada – At the River (Live)
  • Blue Swan – Black Widow [Unsigned Act]
  • Jollymusic feat. Erlend Øye – Talco Uno
  • Faithless feat. Dido – One Step Too Far
  • Electribe 101 – Talkin’ with Myself 98 (Beloved Mix)
  • Vic Twenty – Sugar Me
  • Moby – Left Me Up
  • Étienne de Crécy – Am I Wrong?
  • Yazoo – Don’t Go
  • Faithless – Mass Destruction
  • Deep Dish – Stranded
  • Goldfrapp – Utopia

Retro chart for stowaways – 24 April 2004

Here are the top ten singles from eleven years ago this week:

  1. Pet Shop Boys – Flamboyant
  2. Air – Surfing on a Rocket
  3. Kraftwerk – Aérodynamik
  4. Dido – Don’t Leave Home
  5. Sugababes – In the Middle
  6. Air – Cherry Blossom Girl
  7. Goldfrapp – Black Cherry
  8. Delerium feat. Nerina Pallot – Truly
  9. Basement Jaxx – Plug it In
  10. Kylie Minogue – Red-Blooded Woman

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